After you've lived somewhere like the windy, western plains of Nebraska, you begin to appreciate the value of a tree. Inspired by the founding father of Arbor Day, Julius Sterling Morton, my young son decided to make some changes in our barren landscape. Using seeds from his grandparents' ash trees in northwest Iowa, he planted hundreds in different locations on our ranch for a homeschool science project. My son faithfully watered each seed for several months, but soon discovered the climate and poor quality of soil were unfit for starting a new tree. Discouraged, my young son said, "I guess Iowa seeds simply won't grow unless they're in Iowa dirt."

Having the right soil is also important when planting spiritual seeds. In the parable of the sower in Matthew 13, Jesus taught His disciples the principle of planting God's Word in people's hearts. Many individuals with hard-packed hearts, rocky and shallow faith, or thorny and overcommitted lives miss the benefits of God's blessings. Only one soil is fit to nurture the seeds of God's truth. With the good soil of repentant hearts, these people experience salvation and forgiveness and bring forth thirty, sixty, and even a hundredfold harvest for the kingdom of God (Matthew 13:23).

What about you? Have you noticed any spiritual harvest in your life since you were saved? If not, perhaps it's time to take a soil sample to evaluate the content for PBS (Prayer and Bible Study). As you spend time in the Word and on your knees, God will enrich your life and give you the strength to remove rocks and pull weeds. "Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness" (2 Corinthians 9:10).

Father, forgive me for not bearing the fruit You desire. Plant those things in my life that give You glory and cleanse me of any rocks and thorns blocking Your will. In the name of Jesus, Amen.