Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 (NIV)

1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.  22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”       

Ephesians 1:7-8 (NIV)

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

DEVOTION -Cindy Curtis (South Carolina)

I spent a relaxing day planting petunias of different shades of pink and red interspersed with salvia.  I imagined how much I was going to enjoy caring for and watching them thrive.  A week later, after returning from vacation, I approached my flowerbed with some trepidation.  I stopped, amazed.  How could the flowerbed get so weed-infested in such a short time?

I started pulling weeds with a vengeance.  Some of them were quite large while others were just starting.  Some had grown so close to the plants that I had to wrestle them free to avoid damaging the blooms.

These weeds reminded me of my sin.  When I neglect to confess and release it to God, my sin overpowers my ability to blossom and grow.  Every day I need to take care of sin before it takes root.  If I wait for Sunday worship to confess and release my sin, I may have given it time to overtake me.  Left alone, sin can grow like weeds  that need to be pulled every day.  But every day, God’s grace is enough.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God’s grace is always enough.

PRAYER: Loving God, help us to pay attention to sin in our lives.  Thank you for the grace you lavish on us when we confess and repent.  Amen.