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Many Waters - SoS headerFrom Maiden to Mother ~ SoS Saturday

Here we stand with the onlookers gazing at Christ’s beautiful bride.

How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
O prince's daughter!
The curves of your hips are like jewels,
The work of the hands of an artist.
Your navel is like a round goblet
Which never lacks mixed wine;
Your belly is like a heap of wheat
Fenced about with lilies.
Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle.

Song of Songs 7:1-3 NASB

What we observe in this mature Bride - Christ’s dearest companion - is first and foremost her ability to bring forth life and nurture it.

When Christ looks on His bride, He sees her from the heart - a heavenly view of her devotion to Him. [Song of Songs 4:1-3] When others look on her beauty, they see her activities first and are drawn in to her character as they gaze more deeply.

We looked at the place of her beautiful, sandaled feet and their role in seeking and saving the lost. But her ability to bring life does not stop with her sharing of the good news.

In today’s fashion scene we’ve been trained to despise hips. When my parents were in their prime, the shape of a woman’s body would often be compared to an hourglass - today the image makers want us shooting for test tubes. All curves are unsightly in this century.

And perhaps I’m connecting dots where they don’t really connect, but with the advent of ‘hip-less’ woman there is an overwhelming increase in C-section babies. It seems to me that a woman with no hips is one who may struggle with Child birth.

[Please hear me, I am not saying there is anything wrong with C-section child birth when needed and appropriate - it’s a miracle of modern medicine - but as with much of modern medicine, I feel it’s over used.]

OK - so it doesn’t say she had huge hips - but her hips were in fact a feature of her beauty, not a disgrace passed on to her by bad genes.

And in the Song’s imagery, the beauty of the bride’s hips hint at her ability to bear children.

Much of today’s evangelism ends up in the womb of the church, but never sees the light of day. As Jesus taught in the parable of the soils, if we see evangelism as the scattering of seed, we know that some seed never bears fruit.

What we read in the Song today is the description of a woman who is well suited to bring forth a child and nurture it.

With her feet she carries this good news.

Her hips give he the ability to bear this child to full term. She does not scatter seed and abandon it on the path.

The word rendered belly is just as often interpreted as womb. Once this bride has conceived, she is a safe place for life to grow.

Breasts in the Song speak of beauty and nurture. Again, this child will come to full term, and she if prepared to nurture those she brings forth with the milk of the word.

In short - the beauty described here is in her ability to make disciples.

The founder of the Navigators, Dawson Trotman wrote a pamphlet that has been used by that organization for decades. It’s entitled “Born to Reproduce.” It is tagged with this quote:

A passionate call to maturity, spiritual reproduction and spiritual parenting to help fulfill the Great Commission.

Here’s a link to a PDF copy. It’s a call, not just to evangelism but to spiritual parenting. It’s only 16 pages and I encourage you to give it a read through.

One of the first things God told Adam and Eve was

Be fruitful and multiply … - Genesis 1:22 NASB

Jesus’ first call to the disciples was:

Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. - Matthew 4:19 NASB

And His last call was like it:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. - Matthew 28:19-20 NASB

Today, my observation of this bride leads me to this call - ready yourself to bear and raise spiritual children.

This Song is about, at it’s core, spiritual intimacy with the Lord Jesus. By the wonderful and loving design of our Creator - intimacy leads to reproduction. [tweet this]

Lord, help me walk in this revelation. Help me open my heart to those who so desperately need to know you. Help me be a safe place for them to incubate. Help me be a nurturer to those who need milk. Help me be a godly, spiritual parent making disciples who will make disciples.

Ben NelsonI sense the conviction of the Holy Spirit resting on this today. I know I am convicted.

Are you?



He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.

and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one" (Matthew 13:24, 38 NASB)

Another simple one today – Seed.

The Greek word pretty much preaches itself: the Greek word for seed is sperma.

Here are a couple excerpts from Thayer’s Lexicon (skipping the human seed definitions)

- the seed i.e. the grain or kernel which contains within itself the germ of the future plants
- whatever possesses vital force or life giving power
- of divine energy of the Holy Spirit operating within the soul by which we are regenerated


In the last parable – (the Parable of the Soils) the seed was the Word of God planted in us to impregnate us with truth and the life of God.

Boy – that’ll preach brother Ben.

In this parable the good seed are the sons of the kingdom.

So here it is:

  • First the Word of Life – the seed (sperma) of the Lord  - bursting with new, wonderful, abundant life – is planted in your heart
  • You become pregnant – bursting with new, wonderful, abundant life.
  • Then you (sperma) are in turn planted in the earth - bursting with new, wonderful, abundant life.

I love that the Word is seed in me, and I am seed in the world. I am God’s method of bringing that seed (His word – bursting with new, wonderful, abundant life) to a lost and dying world.

Are you wiling to be planted?

It does mean you will have to die, so others can have life.

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

Today is a great day to die! Just think of the new, wonderful, abundant life you will be creating! [Tweet This]

BenThanks for stopping by today.

See you tomorrow.


Field photo credit: downhilldom1984 via photopin cc

Seed photo credit: Martin LaBar (going on hiatus) via photopin cc

Thayer's Lexicon via

The Sower - Van Gogh

Good Soil

And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word (in an honest and good heart) and understands it and accept(s) it and hold(s) it fast; who indeed bears fruit with perseverance, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” (From: Matthew 13: 23, Mark 4:20, Luke 8:15 NASB – see comments below)

So what makes good soil?

Good Soil

1) It can’t be trodden underfoot and packed down like the path. We must allow God to turn the earth and break up the fallow ground. We must submit to the plowing of the Lord.

2) It can’t be full of rocks, and resistant to the sunlight, and must have the ability to take on water. How does a young Christian deal with affliction, persecution and temptation? Here is where the body comes into play.

We must be the body. We must stand together to support and comfort one another. And when I say comfort, I am not talking about patting each other on the hand and feeling sorry. I am talking about the real meaning of the word.

Com = with  Fort = Strength.

The Holy Spirit is the One who comes along side us and brings strength – but He often uses the Body to do it. We must stand together in days of loss and sorrow, in days of persecution, and in days of temptation.

3) It can’t be full of thorns. When the enemy rises up with lies that would draw us away from the faith, when riches declare to us that they will protect us and exalt themselves against what we know is the truth, we must hold fast to Jesus, the truth. We must simplify our lives and pull the distractions from our soil.

This done – how do we hear?

  • With an honest heart
  • With a good heart.
  • With understanding
  • With acceptance
  • Holding fast to it
  • With perseverance [Tweet This]

Let me be honest here. Until I combined these three tellings of this parable, I had no idea there was so much involved in hearing. No wonder Jesus counsels “He who has ears let him hear.

Hearing is an activity, and never passive. Do not think that because you have a preachers voice washing over your ears, that you have heard the voice of the Spirit. You must DO the work of hearing. [Tweet This]

First prepare your heart (I know - I said that already) Is your's an honest heart? Are you honest with your self about the state of your heart. Do you claim (even to yourself) a level of love for the Lord that does not exist in reality? Is your heart wearing a mask that even you can't detect?

Is your heart a good heart? There is none good but God, so a good heart is one where the Lord God resides.

Then you must do what you need to do to understand what you have heard. How does it apply to your life. If the only application you have found is for your spouse or kids or the neighbor who you wish would behave, YOU HAVE NOT HEARD!. He was talking to you.

Then you must accept it – perhaps this will require repentance – course correction, or perhaps a full about-face.

Then you must hold fast to what you have heard. Don’t let the Word spoken to your heart slip away. Hold fast to what the Lord has spoken to you.

Finally you must persevere. Do it every day. Work it, walk it, let it become part of you.

Now get ready for a harvest, a harvest of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. And a harvest of souls, added daily to the kingdom.

I believe this is a year the Lord wants to bring forth a harvest in your life. Will you prepare the soil?

BenThanks for coming by.

He who has an ear - let him hear.


* The 3 passages have been interwoven using colors to show which passage each word originates from. I have not added anything, just pulled from the NASB in each case. Red text is from Matthew, green from Mark and blue from Luke.

The Sower - Van Gogh


And others (seed) fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up (with it) and choked them out (and it yielded no crop).

And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word and (as they go on their way), the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches (and the desires for other things) choke the word, (they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life,) and it becomes unfruitful (bring no fruit to maturity). (From: Matthew 13:7,22, Mark 4:7,18, Luke 8:7,14 NASB – see comments below)

Just a bit more on this third soil type.

Friday I started with the thorns, but today I want to start with the results and work backwards.

Thorns are really tricky, because they do not stunt your growth. In drive by mode, the causal observer will look at a plant that is growing among the thorns see no issue with this healthy looking foliage.

It reminds me of the fig tree that Jesus visited the day after His big entrance into Jerusalem.

And seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it, and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered. (Matthew 21:19 NASB)

Jesus was not just being grumpy. I am told that on fig trees the leave grows after the fig appears to protect the fruit from the sun.

So Jesus came up to the fig tree that showed the signs of maturity, and fruitfulness expecting to receive a harvest, and found none.

The end of the fig tree is rough. In Matthew’s telling it withered ‘at once’ in Mark 11 they are walking by the next day and find it withered from the root.

What I want you to hear beloved, is that unfruitfulness is a big deal, thus these thorns, these distractions, are a big deal. [Tweet This]

I don’t want you to start a door to door search in your life and spend the next 10 hours weeping and bemoaning your unfruitfulness – that would be – well – unfruitful. There is a really simple solution to the thorn (distraction) problem.

In the words of Helen H. Lemmel, written in 1922 (1)

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

BenThanks for coming by today.

See you tomorrow when we see what good soil looks like.


(1) - Lyrics for Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus can be found at

* The 3 passages have been interwoven using colors to show which passage each word originates from. I have not added anything, just pulled from the NASB in each case. Red text is from Matthew, green from Mark and blue from Luke.

The Sower - Van Gogh


And others (seed) fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up (with it) and choked them out (and it yielded no crop).

And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word and (as they go on their way), the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches (and the desires for other things) choke the word, (they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life,) and it becomes unfruitful (bring no fruit to maturity). (From: Matthew 13:7,22, Mark 4:7,18, Luke 8:7,14 NASB – see comments below)

You know what – I would just as soon have my thorns, thank you very much.

I think this is the way we think about our thorns. Everyone likes a good thorn.

Of course I am joking, a little.

These thorns:

  • The worries of the world
  • The deceitfulness of riches
  • The desire for other things
  • The pleasures of this life

They cycle through my life, distracting me and making me unfruitful.

When I take my eyes off Christ, and begin to focus on some get rich quick (or slow) scheme, or the acquisition of my next toy, or just how I am going to get through the next 3 weeks of my life, the fruit I have been cultivating, sometimes for years, withers on the vine.

I want to take this opportunity to tell you that riches lie! This one has gotten me more times than I would like to admit. Somehow riches know just how to convince me that they are looking out for me. [Tweet This] If I'll take care of them, they'll take care of the rest.

Riches – Pleasures – Worries – Stuff – none of them can save you, but they want you to think they are on your side.

Today I want to say beware! Don’t let that which is holy, and wonderful in your life wither or rot on the vine.

BenKeep your eyes on Jesus and let His Word have it’s work in you today.

Hope that helps


* The 3 passages have been interwoven using colors to show which passage each word originates from. I have not added anything, just pulled from the NASB in each case. Red text is from Matthew, green from Mark and blue from Luke.

The Sower - Van Gogh

Today I want to walk through the 2nd soil in the parable. I think you'll find a surprise in the Word today. For the rocky soil, we are going to read both the parable portion and the explanation. Again I have interwoven the scriptures (see notes below.) The differences are minimal but interesting.

Rocky Soil

And others (seed) fell upon the rocky places (ground, soil), where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But (as soon as it grew up) when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root (it had no moisture), they withered away.

And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy; (they believe for a while) yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, (and in time of temptation)  immediately he falls away. Matthew 13:5-6,20-22, Mark 4:5-6,16-17, Luke 8:6,13

You get this, I am sure, from the natural perspective. There is nowhere for the roots to go, so though the plant springs up quickly, it withers and dies when the sun comes daily, and it has no where to go for moisture.

Most of us love a sunny day. When the sun is bright and beating down on me, especially this time of year, when you step outside and feel the warmth of the sun, even in the dead of winter, it is a wonderful sensation.

Jesus seems to have another idea about sunshine.

What constitutes the sunshine in Jesus' story? Affliction, persecution, and temptation! (Kind of put a twist on those old songs, “You Are My Sunshine” and “You Are the Sunshine Of My Life”)

Sunset in the Poconos
Sunset in the Poconos

So let’s just think about this for a couple minutes.

Sunshine is completely necessary for growth. It is in fact a very good thing. Therefore affliction, persecution, and temptation are also good things, necessary for our growth. Without them you will never flourish as a believer.

But if you do not have a root system that can supply water to bring the nourishment to meet the sunlight, you might just burst into flames. [Tweet This]

Jesus said it this way

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10 NASB)

But if I am going to burst into flames, it does not sound like a blessing.

It is only a blessing when you are in a Beatitude state of mind with:

  • A poor spirit
  • Mourning over your sin
  • Meek, and submitted to the will of God
  • Hungry to see righteousness prevail
  • Quick to show mercy
  • Pure in heart
  • Helping others to find peace with God

These are the ones who will find joy, maybe not giddy happiness, but unshakable joy, in the face of affliction, persecution, and temptation.

BenThanks for coming by today.

Tomorrow we will look at a thorny subject.

See you then


For more on the Beatitudes check out my series walking through them here.

* The 3 passages have been interwoven using colors to show which passage each word originates from. I have not added anything, just pulled from the NASB in each case. Red text is from Matthew, green from Mark and blue from Luke.

The Sower - Van Gogh

The Path

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, immediately satan, the evil one, the devil, comes and snatches (takes) away what has been sown (the word) in his heart, so that they may not believe and be saved. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. (From Matthew 13: 19, Mark 4: 15Luke 8: 12 NASB * See comments below)

The first landing area for our seed is the roadside. Matthew gives us just a little hint to why the devil has open season with the Word of God when it is sewn into these heavily trodden places – lack of understanding.

A story comes to mind when I think about satan stealing truth.

There once lived a man and woman in the most amazing place. It was like Eden – oh – in fact it was Eden, and this couple was Adam and Eve.

God told Adam:

“From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17 NASB)

Clearly Adam passed this info on to Eve, however from the way Eve tells it, the emphasis may have changed slightly. Do you see the change?

“From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’” (Genesis 3:2-3 NASB)

Eve added “or touch it” to the actual restriction God put on the tree.

satan (it is lower case on purpose – he does not get the respect of a proper address) comes in and twists Eve’s understanding even further, and plants a seed of suspicions about God’s motives in her heart.

“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5 NASB)

The enemy causes Eve to wonder if God is good, and His intentions are in her favor, or if He is motivated by self-preservation and is trying to keep her down.

Wow – we do this all the time.

We look at our circumstances and blame God for “allowing” things in our life, or in the lives of those around us.

We take what satan himself has done (take for example school-house shootings) and wonder what God was thinking when He did it.

We look at horrendous natural disasters and again point the finger at God.

Then when God’s Word comes to us, because we don’t understand that God is good, or we re-define good to include some of the most heinous activity the world has ever seen, we miss the wonderful blessings it (the Word) holds, and satan has carried away the Word like a bird of the air collecting seed at the side of the road.

We look at our plight and see no hope, even when we sit with a lap full of promises and guarantees. We turn the Word of God into so much bird food. [Tweet This]

It is time, folks, for us to believe God and get to know this good God we serve. Otherwise His Word is wasted on us.

BenI hope you know I love you.

See you tomorrow and we will look at the stony ground. Don’t miss it.


* The 3 passages have been interwoven using colors to show which passage each word originates from. I have not added anything, just pulled from the NASB in each case. Red text is from Matthew, green from Mark and blue from Luke.

The Sower - Van Gogh

And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” (Matthew 13:10 NASB)

Why indeed! I have heard preachers tell me Jesus spoke in parables that related spiritual things to the land and farming so that simple farmers could understand these high and lofty principles of the kingdom of God.

That is not how Jesus answers this question. He does not say, “I am keeping it simple so the simple folk get it.”

His answer is actually a bit sobering. Matthew has more here than Mark and Luke, so let’s look there.

And He answered and said to them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him."

"Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES LEST THEY SHOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I SHOULD HEAL THEM.’

But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it; and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it." (Matthew 13:11-17 NASB)

This is pretty staggering to me. Jesus is actually telling stories in order to leave those who will not hear in their ignorance.

Jesus quotes Isaiah’s judgment on the people. You have turned your hearts from me, which is evidenced by your refusal to hear. And so when I speak, I will speak in such away that you will not understand.

So is it hopeless? Is the die cast? Is there no hope if you have once turned away from the Lord?

I don’t believe that for a second.

But you do need to turn to the Lord, and away from all that has drawn you from Him. You must choose to hear only Him, and forsake that which has drawn your eyes from the wonder of His beautiful holiness. [Tweet This]

Otherwise you will never see that which your heart needs in order to be healed.

Today, don’t harden your heart, but stop, look, and listen to the voice of the Spirit calling to you.

Don’t delay.

BenThanks for stopping in today friends.

Come back tomorrow when we start looking at the soils


The Sower - Van Gogh

Behold, the sower went out to sow (Matthew 13:3 NASB)

I want to spend the next few days digging (sorry – I can’t help myself) into the parable of the soils. Some call this the parable of the sower, but many of the lessons in this simple story are in the dirt.

I call it a simple story, but it is really anything but that.

It is recorded in 3 of the Gospels Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8

It is the basis for all other parables (Mark 4:13)

It carries truth hidden from those blinded to the gospel by their unbelief.

So, where to start? The story itself is simple enough.

A man goes out with a bag of seed and starts scattering it, throwing it hither and yon.

The seed falls to the ground.

The rest is up to the ground.

There are 4 types of ground Jesus mentions.

  • The path
  • Rocky places
  • Weedy places
  • Prepared soil

There are 4 types of challenges the seed faces

  • The Birds of the air
  • The Heat of the sun
  • Lack of Moisture
  • The weeds and thorns

But the meat is in the interpretation.

Jesus the consummate teacher takes time on this first parable to break it all the way down for the boys. It is important to notice in Jesus’ parable everything is significant. When He is teaching us to interpret this type of scripture, He wants us to take the picture apart, and see how it all fits back together.

And thankfully He did not leave anything for our guessing in this one.

Today we will simply name the players, and tomorrow and over the next week or so we will look at each soil, and each challenge in some detail.

The seed is the imperishable Word of God.

The sower sows the Word of God. So the sower could be a preacher, friend, or any Christian. We are all sowers everyday.

The soil is the heart where the seed lands. Many use this parable only to talk about those who don’t know the Lord as the soil, but the fact is we are all soil every day. The Lord uses many means to scatter the Word into our hearts, and every man, woman and child needs to be attentive to the seed sown in their lives daily.

BenCome back tomorrow, and we will start digging a bit deeper. (I told you I can’t help myself)

See you then


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