God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You.
I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water.
So I gaze on You in the sanctuary
to see Your strength and Your glory.
My lips will glorify You because
Your faithful love is better than life.
So I will praise You as long as I live;
at Your name, I will lift up my hands.
You satisfy me as with rich food;
my mouth will praise You with joyful lips.
Psalm 63:1-5 (HCSB)

Those of us who live in the high plains of north Texas can relate to King David, who wrote this psalm while he was in the desert wilderness of Judah. We know the satisfaction that comes from a tall glass of ice water on a hot day. As great as cool water is for physical thirst, David thirsts for God to satisfy his spiritual thirst, to satisfy his soul. Where do you turn to find satisfaction for your soul? When you find yourself in the dry wilderness situations of life, what do you do? This Psalm shows the path to find satisfaction, even satisfaction for your soul.

David begins his journey by seeking God in His sanctuary. David had experienced God in His power and glory in the tabernacle; now David is in a dry place spiritually. He longs to see his wilderness transformed into a sanctuary where God is honored and worshiped. We should follow David’s example and seek God through our dry times and say, “I want to seek God’s glory through this wilderness experience just as though I were worshiping God in a church service.” God wants to be found. He will satisfy your soul. No one else can.

David continues his journey by blessing God. He focuses his attention on the greatness and faithfulness of God rather than the wilderness. When we choose to trust God through the dry times of life He refreshes our souls. When we are in the wilderness, the choice is ours, focus on the dryness of the desert or on the faithfulness of God. Choosing God will lead to deep satisfaction. He writes, “Your faithful love is better than life.” Wow. How would your life be different if God’s faithful love was even more precious to you than life itself?

David arrives at satisfaction when he writes, “You satisfy me as with rich food.” Satisfaction doesn’t come from external circumstances. It comes directly from God as He blesses us on the inside. Wilderness experiences can benefit you. They teach you the important truth about the source of real satisfaction. Circumstances on the outside can never lead to true satisfaction. Only God’s work on the inside truly satisfies. When you find yourself in the wilderness, follow David’s example. God will meet your need and you will find satisfaction for your soul.

This article originally appeared in the Dalhart Texan and was written by Sean Vickers.

Faith and Farming

Faith and Farming

In Dalhart, Texas, we are surrounded by thousands of acres of farmland. Some of these farms have great crops, while others fail. Two of the deciding factors in a successful farm are the condition of the soil and the amount of moisture.

We have a highly trained group of people called agronomists who help our farmers have great crops. Monitoring crops and helping make important agricultural decisions, this hard working group helps farmers produce fruitful and profitable crops. Sometimes, the agronomists’ advice is the difference of having a high yielding crop or loosing the crop altogether.

In the New Testament book of Luke, Jesus taught His followers a lesson about faith by using the parable of the soils. In Luke 8, He depicts four types of soil. Jesus describes three soils that each produced no crop and one soil that generated a great harvest. In this parable, Jesus is the sower, the Word of God is the seed, and the soil represents the condition of the heart. Will you allow Jesus to evaluate your heart and be your agronomist?

The first soil Jesus describes in Luke 8 is hard soil. He said, “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.” Luke 8:5 (NIV) Common back in Jesus’ day, there were paths between fields that were repeatedly walked on and packed down. When the seed landed in these hard places, it was unable to take root resulting in becoming bird food. This soil represents someone who hears the Word of God and immediately allows the adversary the devil to snatch the seed away. This happens when the devil reminds you of your past and tries to convince you that you are unworthy of God’s love. He also reminds you of a hurtful church experience when someone said something uncaring or when a church missed an opportunity to minister to you or your family. As a pastor, let me apologize for your hurtful experience and plead with you to ignore the devil’s reminders. He is wrong about you. God loves you and has a plan for your life. You can trade the lies for the love of God.

The second soil is shallow soil. “Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.” Luke 8:6 (NIV) In the panhandle of Texas, we know all about lack of moisture. Shallow soil describes the person that hears the Word of God and begins to respond, but when his faith is tested falls way. Why?  There is no root. For one to avoid the shallow heart, trusting God with the details of life is essential. When fear and worry replace faith, the heart will be shallow. Is there something blocking the work of God in your heart that you need to trust Him for? He is willing to replace fear and worry with peace and confidence. All you have to do is trust God and place your faith in Him through everything.

The third soil Jesus depicts is crowded soil. “Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.” Luke 8:7 (NIV) Weeds in our life hinder the harvest. We live in a culture full of distractions. We crowd our hearts with the the things we see and hear. The books we read, movies and TV we watch, websites we go to on the internet, and the music we listen to influences the condition of our heart.  Whatever you allow into your heart through your eyes and ears effects the state of your heart to the work of God’s Word. If your heart is crowded and full of weeds today, God is willing to cultivate your heart to produce a harvest, if you will let Him.

The last soil Jesus used to describe the condition of the heart was good soil that produced a great crop. “Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” Luke 8:8 (NIV) There is nothing better for a farmer than when the great harvest comes up, and all the work has been worth while. To produce a fruitful harvest in your life, you must soften your heart to the Word of God and refuse to listen to lies of the devil. You also must allow God to work deep in your life beyond the fears and worries of this world. Weed out anything that would choke out the work of God in your life.

As spring approaches and farmers prepare to plant their crops, let’s pray for a bountiful harvest. Likewise, as Jesus plants the Word of God in our lives, let’s cultivate the soil of our hearts for a great harvest of spiritual fruit.

This article originally appeared in the Dalhart Texan and was written by Sean Vickers.

You Might Be a Texan If . . .

You Might Be a Texan If . . .

15.  Your priorities, in order of importance: Texas, air, water, food, clothing, shelter, etc….

14.  If you can’t believe that other states pay income tax.

13.  When it’s Summer, you want Winter, and when it’s Winter, you want Summer.

12.  You’ve hung ornaments and tinsel on tumbleweed and used it as a Christmas tree.

11.  You know what a ‘Cowboy Cadillac” is.

10.  You’re more interested in fully loaded truck than a luxury car.

9.  The Blue Book value on your truck goes up and down depending on how much gas it has in it.

8.  You refer to the Dallas Cowboys as “God’s team.”

7.  You measure distance in time, not miles.

6.  If when the rest of the country complains about a heat wave, you tell them to quit complaining’.

5.  You know from experience that rattlesnake taste like chicken.

4.  You know someone who ate the 72 oz steak and got it for free.

3.  You know that Bluebell Ice Cream is the best ice cream in the world.

2.  You throw a party for all your friends when it rains.

1.  You’ve got Texas in your soul. It’s a Texas thing.