The Implanted Word


I have a thing for TEDtalks. Tell me I’m not the only one?! They can commonly be found playing via podcast in our home while I make dinner, while I run around doing errands, and yes, even while I shower. There’s a glorious amount of information to be had in those 15 minutes or less! I love finding nuggets of wisdom, whether it be about women entrepreneurs in Rwanda, medical advances and brain research, or timeless truth on belief shared by Billy Graham.

Recently, I listened to a TEDtalk on finding design answers by investigating biology in nature. The presenter identified intricate designs in the natural world and encouraged listeners to replicate the patterns of anything from birds nests to symbiosis in their building and program designs.

TEDtalks like this one always make me the most excited and the most sad. Looking at the way God designed creation to be, to exist, and to thrive is such a beautiful thing, but the presenters are so busy seeing the beauty that they almost always miss the Designer.

The stars are placed in the sky…by His hands.

The oceans waves acquiesce to the seashore…by His command.

The flowers unfold their color…by His direction.

Today, we’re going to praise the Designer and learn from His design.

His Word isn’t just given to us…it’s planted in us by the first, the true Creator and Designer. Any good idea I have, it’s from Him. He designed His Word and planted it in us to teach us, to build us up, and to spur us on, as redeemed and treasured people of God.

Let’s read James 1:19-22 to learn more:

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 

During this last week of study, I want to move back through the book of James to set our feet firmly on the Good Gift of words and the Word, planted in us for a purpose.

James 1:21 tells us that God implants His Word in our hearts. God doesn’t just tell us the Word, or give us the Word to hold: He implants.

The Greek phrase for implanted word in the passage above is emphyton logos. If you have a notebook or Bible out, write that Greek phrase next to the text “implanted word.” Now, jot down other translation possibilities- rooted, ingrown, natural, engrafted, or congenital. Implanted is a very good translation because the Word is, yes, rooted in us, but it also grows or blooms out of us. Plants have both roots and blooms. Let’s reflect on those two things.

First, God’s Word is rooted in us.

He digs deep into our hearts and lives, and places His Word firmly in us. How long have you been attending church – since childhood, just recently? Do you have memories of a grandma or a faithful someone who shared the word with you?

God works the Word into our lives in so many ways and very often we may not even consciously see it.

Have you heard the Word as you show up to church week after week, even when your ears aren’t attentive?

Have you saved up notes or cards from someone who encouraged you with His Word?

Do you have a verse of Scripture that rises up from somewhere within you, from a voice you can’t identify (cough-cough…Holy Spirit)?

One of my favorite people on the planet, Miss Ardyth, faithfully taught my kids songs in the Midweek program at church for several years. What stuck out to me about Miss Ardyth’s song selection was that they were always straight from Scripture. My kids were unknowingly memorizing Scripture and singing them all over the house without even thinking about it. Miss Ardyth believed Psalm 119 and taught me to trust in the power of God’s Word tucked deep inside me.

See three different Biblical translations for Psalm 119:11 below:

ESV I have stored up your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.

NIV I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.

NRSV I treasure your word in my heart,
    so that I may not sin against you.

When we hear the Word, when we read the Word, even when we speak the Word, God is storing it, God is hiding it in us, God is building a treasure store in our hearts and minds. This is God planting the Word – it is taking root.

God’s Word blooms out of us.

God’s Word also just COMES OUT! It blooms up and out. That’s the way it’s designed. When it’s tucked deep inside, it jumps out when we least expect it. It grabs ahold us of in our need and it clings tightly to our neighbor whether they understand it or not. It grows up and out and brings answers where there were none. It gives comfort where only anxiety reigns.

When have you seen it?

God’s Word is planted in you. His Holy Spirit is at work. His Word does not return void. You are reading this, so you are hearing the Word and it is taking root and doing its work. I am so excited to see what He is growing with it!

 

Discussion:

What is your earliest memory of the Word?

Who has the Holy Spirit used to plant His Word in you?

What is your favorite Bible story or Bible verse? How does it speak Hope and Life to your life?

Farm livin’ or a time to plant

                                     *photo created with the vrsly app 

Day Three – Farm livin’ or a time to plant
We live in the corn, or the wheat, or the soybeans. It wasn’t something I saw coming in my life. But after being here for 11+ years, I love the flat growing fields, especially when the sunrise pops over the horizon. All you can see for a mile is shoots of fresh crop sprung up from the ground, and big bold beautiful colors filling the sky, with tiny red barns dotting the space in between. The contrast is amazing. And the food! We eat crazy fresh food. My beef comes from cows I have met, that lived less than a mile away, abundant produce baskets fill the narthex in the summer, and we do, in fact, own a cow with friends. Something that surprises even me.  Rural life has its benefits.
In these past 11 years I have learned to appreciate farming. I learn something new about the techniques and modern mechanisms of farming every day, but something the people taught me right away is that God is a farmer.
All we have comes from Him. We plant with our hands, only by His grace. Crops grow, only with His tender care. The harvest is plentiful and lean depending on the need God sees and His plans for men on earth, with the eternal in mind. God calls his earth good.
In Genesis 2:8 God plants a garden for Adam and Eve to reside in and after forming man with his very own hands, he uses those hands to make a home for him:
And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.
God created and created, but He still planted a garden for His children. Remarkable!
As often as God talks about planting in the traditional farming sense, in the Scriptures, he also talks about planting people.
Look at Exodus 15:17-18, at the end of Moses’s song, after crossing through the Red Sea:
You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain,
the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode,
the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.
The Lord will reign forever and ever.”
Where does it say that God plants the people? With Him.Yes!
On His holy mountain…not aimlessly, but firmly in His care, in His hands.
Just like the Israelites we are planted with care in the place where God puts us, we are never apart from His presence. We may walk out of His sanctuaries, buildings made by human hands, with His blessing, but we are the living stones. We are not just built, or even built up, sister. We are planted, with roots that run as deep as His faithfulness. And, oh man, is He ever faithful.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 is my daughter’s confirmation verse- to be:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
    whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
    that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
    for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
    for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
We pray for strong roots for our children and wings to fly, He gives them both without fail.
We understand this idea of God planting us as people, and even more as New Testament believers because he has planted His very self in us at our baptisms. We are now that sanctuary that houses His Spirit, Himself. We are planted in God, and need not fear.
Sometimes it is a time to plant new ideas, new jobs, new friends, new adventures, new challenges. We can embrace all of it with Him, knowing that He will plant firmly what is supposed to remain, while other things will pass away quickly because they are not in His long term plans.
Deciding on something new? Place it before Him.
Lord, plant me deeply in Your Word and Truth. Plant Your Love and Grace ever deeper in my heart. Thank you for sending Your Spirit to live in us and through us. Help me to be ever mindful that there is no greater gift, that You are in me. Guide my life, Jesus. Pluck me up, plant me where You would have me. Help me to identify what is of You and what is distraction. Help me in the struggle of growth. You, O Lord, You are the Farmer and Gardener of my soul. I trust in You. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Discussion questions:
What is your favorite crop that comes from the ground and why?
Imagine the Garden of Eden. What does it look like in your mind when you picture it?
What new thing is God planting in your life?