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The Garden Paradigm: Dominion in the Image of God

Edwin Dysinger


Edwin Dysinger

Work on development for Bountiful Blessings Farm




  • December 1, 2017
    8:15 AM


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Our Father in heaven. We thank you I just want to thank you and praise you for this conference. For the people here who are coming because they want to follow your plan more fully. It is so moved me to see that interest in that desire here. And Father I just ask that you would bless us bless us all at this conference and I pray that you would especially. Guide and direct me in what I say. What I share here now that I would be able to communicate it in a clear and. Concise way that. Would be understandable and applicable I thank you for hearing us and for being with with us now in Jesus' name. All right. My title is The Garden paradigm dominion in the image of God and you know I've I felt in my life that god. Has has led me in a circle circular to route a stick at this journey. And I you know chances are very good that I had a lot to do with this security the most of it. But anyways that's what's happened that's been my life. I'm married Jennifer right after college we got degrees and international public health and we went overseas. We when we married we wanted to be missionaries that was that was my objective in life when I was in school I I didn't know what I wanted to do but I did know where I wanted to be and that was overseas I was just trying to figure out what am I going to do that will get me there. So we for most of our time we were working without drama and. The work was it was often quite stressful but we also found it very satisfying and after about after 16 years in Sudan and Tanzania and Yemen. God brought us home. And that was initially very confusing to me but I remember when day I saw the Lord for direction. And. I fasted and prayed I took some books with me 1 of them being the desire of ages and at the end of that day I felt that God had had clearly shown me that I should be. I wasn't totally clear but doing something raising plants farming gardening you know that that was that was what he wanted me to do. It took several years from that from that point before I was able to begin farming. But when I did. It was it was an amazing experience to me. I found it to be the most. The most fulfilling thing that I had done and I felt like it was the most whole thing that I had done in my life I also felt like it was the most real thing that I had done and you know I still struggle to know how to explain that to people but to those of you who are farming I found other farmers understand and resonate with that. Anyways as a as I started farming. My mind somehow I kept going back to those 1st chapters in Genesis I it was just those chapters were like a magnet to my mind it just kept going back and back what did God mean there and. Those part of the reason I think my mind kept going back is that. I suddenly felt that those chapters had more relevant to my life than I than I had ever you know than they had ever had before there was something very basic and fundamental about them and I was doing something very basic and fundamental and there was a connection there so I you know I just wanted to know what. What did they mean for me. And as I as I as I meditated and prayed over those verses I began to see things that I had never seen before and so that I want to share some of that journey with you this morning. But before I get into that I just want to give you. This. At the picture of Jennifer's and my family. And this picture is actually taken we have a our family John John and I are brothers and our mother as John said is Australian and her purse her parents and her siblings all ended up in the US and we have a family reunion every 2 or 3 years of the whole family and not just them but any any other Australian relatives who happen to be in the U.S. Several have moved there. They're all welcome to join too and my mom's brother. Although he lived in the US and spent his career in the US when he retired he moved back to New Zealand he had actually been born in New Zealand so he held a New Zealand passport that he never gave up and so he moved back to New Zealand and. He had a he had a daughter late in life she she moved back with him and. So I have a and uncle and aunt and cousin in New Zealand and we're looking forward to visiting them on our way home from here but anyways this is this is our oldest daughter Evangeline her husband and their kids here our 2nd daughter Caroline and her kids her daughter and son her husband David there and this is our son Paul and his wife Natasha so. 1 thing we want whenever we have our family reunions we always make a T. shirt and the T. shirt always. Kind of celebrates our Australian roots somehow so I. Just thought you might find that interesting. In putting this the wrong way OK. So this morning I want to make the following points 1st that it was God's intention that we have dominion. Secondly that our ideas of dominion tend to be wrong you know I'm putting it boldly there but I think you know as I've talked with people I think most of us have a kind of a negative idea about Dominion when we hear that word and I'm just wanting to say up front that if you have a negative idea of dominion it's wrong. And 3rd God is our example or model for dominion and that's why your idea of dominion is wrong if you have a negative idea about it and 4th. The garden is where God intended for us to learn and practice dominion. OK. So God intended that we have dominion Then God said Let Us make man in our image after our likeness and let them have dominion. So when God. When God planned. Our creation His plan was that we would have dominion. And God bless them and God said to them Be fruitful and multiply fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion. There was not just God's plan that we have dominion but. As far as I can tell these are the 1st words God spoke to Adam and Eve and in those 1st words he he gave them their mandate. And it was to have dominion fact I believe that I'm not going to get into it so much but I believe that it's going to happen. Seems like I'm going forward and I'm trying to go backwards. A really. I'm going all the way through the whole slide show here. OK. So. Our ideas of dominion are wrong then God said Let Us make man in our image after our likeness and let them have dominion. There's been a lot of discussion about what God meant when he said that he wanted to make us in His image and likeness. But we can from from reading the Bible we can tell that God has God has form and function similar to ours. There are you know he has eyes he has he has yours. He has a mouth that speaks and he has an arm that's active. So you know what whatever he's like he has a form and function similar to ours. You know the Bible says that God's Spirit but he's not that doesn't mean he's just some amorphous. He theory is staying out there he has a form and function similar to ours. But Scripture is clear. The form and function that God have. That the that the image of God that we were created in extends beyond the form and function that God has and. In Genesis 126 God says Let us make man in our image after our likeness and let them have dominion there we see the Dominion is a form of behavior it's more than just form and function it's behavior it's an attitude towards life it's a way of looking at life it's a paradigm so for me. The breakthrough in my my understanding of this came when I realized that there was a connection between dominion and God's image and likeness you see that. Let us make man in our image after our likeness and let them have don't mention. So he wants us to have dominion and he's creating us in His image and likeness. To me that means that God intended us to have dominion in His image and likeness if I am to have dominion and my sphere the same way that God has dominion in his sphere then my ideas of dominion must be wrong. So my quest now. Became my quest now became to know how does God do Dominion What does God's dimension look like. I felt that this question was important because I recognize that God has created us to imprint Are you acquainted with that idea. You know in biology we have this concept of imprinting and the idea is that. It's not just human beings but many creatures. We become like our parents like the 1st ones who gave us life so in biology we call this imprinting the best illustration that I can. Think of is when you have an orphaned creature and it's raised by a creature different than it I read a story once about. A chicken that was raised by ducks and the poor thing couldn't figure out why it couldn't swim. You know he was trying to do a duck to live a duck life and it just didn't work very well and another story we have actually it's a children's story by James Herriott about an orphaned kitten that he rescued on his way to visit a farm and he gave it to the farmer and his wife and they had a number of cats but they looked around and they realized they did not have any nursing caps at the moment and the only the only place the only creature they had nursing was a pig and so they put that cat on the mother pig and forever after even when that cat was an adult it hung around the pigs James said whenever he went out to that farm he would always find the cat somewhere you know on the around the pig sty there. So. God created us to grow into the image of whatever was set before us so as I realized that my question became how does God exercise dominion and where can I watch him at work you know I want to understand how does this work. I want to start imprinting. So my my 1st. My 1st clue came at the back of the Bible in Revelation 221. Then the angel showed me the River of the water of life the brightest Crystal flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city and of course there was the Tree of Life on the other side and the leaves were for the healing of the nation and I realized that this was a picture of dominion so what what's at the center of this picture is a it's a river of water of life right Rivers do do Rivers come and go actually some do I guess. In the desert but but this 1 doesn't this is the river of constantly flowing water purest Crystal and where is that water coming from the throne of God and what does the throne represent No what happens on a throne. That's that's where a King sits and exercises Dominion isn't it when he's sitting on his throne he's whatever he does while he's sitting on his throne has his authority behind it that's where he exercises dominion and. This is a picture of God's dominion it's a river of crystal clear water constantly flowing out of him that is life giving so I thought that God Dominion is life giving. When I I just want to share about this river picture when I when I think about a river of life the picture that comes to me is of the Nile River as I shared earlier we lived in Sudan and. Sudan you know a lot of Americans are geographically challenged I don't know if you all are but I heard an amen back. Just a just a funny story about that when when my mom 1st came to the states. She had she came for college just the understand the peer group she was dealing with there chic she came for college and. Very often people would ask her Where are you from They'd hear her accent they'd ask her where you from and she'd say well I'm from a stroke and. Really what language do you speak there. And when my mom was a kid they had they had among the siblings they had they had spoken Pig Latin you know what that is so they had spoken among pig latin among themselves so she'd oblige and speak a little pig pig latin and they were duly impressed and. So. Anyways. Sudan is directly south of Egypt. And if you know your geography a little bit the river Nile enters Egypt from the south that means it's coming from Sudan and Sudan actually has a lot more Nile in it than Egypt does. We lived in Sudan and we lived in for several years we lived in the northern part of Sudan on the Nile and. The other major geographic feature in Sudan in northern Sudan is the Sahara Desert. The part of the. Where where we lived if you were away from the river everything with sand and rocks. Red Sand and black rocks that was the. But you would come to the river and there was this ribbon of green on either side of the river. Full of date palms and and such earth and mango orchards and fields of wheat and beans and fodder and vegetables and. There was life and in villages there was life next to the river. And I I feel that that Jesus. In his his life on this earth he was like that river of life wherever he went. Through the Desert of our world he was nourishing and cherishing those around him those who came into his sphere of influence he said the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy I came that they may have life and have it abundantly I am the Good Shepherd the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. And so then. If this is what God's dominion is like then I want to be like that I want to be life giving like that. Then my dominion should be life given and as I thought about it I realized that that is what it's like in the garden you know while God is the ultimate life giver he's given me a roll of life giving as well as I prepare my soil as I plant my seed as I water and cultivate and protect my growing plants I'm giving my life for them and giving my time and giving my energy and giving my sweat Sometimes I'm even giving my blood. All for their life and for their well being and I I was reminded also of Jacob's speech to Laban there I was by day the heat consume me and the cold by night and sleep fled from my eyes you know that's that's the life of the the agriculturalist. I'm. I give my life for them. And in doing this I learn and grow in my ability for godly dominion. The next thing I realized was that. This is also true in all my relationships I can be a life giver or I can be a life extractor. My job as a husband and father is to be a life giver to nourish and cherish in the same way husband should love their wives as their own bodies he who loves his wife loves himself. For no 1 ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it just as Christ does the church because we are members of his body that's the fusions 52830 you know 1 day I was spreading soil amendments on my field and in my mind I was I was doing a little complaining I was saying to myself why do I have to do this every single year. You would think that if you got it right. The soil would stay right. And then it was like God spoke to my heart and he said you know. Your field is like your wife and I said. You know if I want my field to be fruitful I have to keep putting inputs into it if I want my wife to thrive and be fruitful I have to keep inputting into her I have to keep nourishing and cherishing her it's not a 1 off or a or occasional effort it's a constant consistent outflow in life like that river of life flowing out from God's throne So these these thoughts lead me directly to the next characteristic of God's dominion and that is that it's relational. The active life giving is relational when the Bible tells us that that God is love we recognize that he is relational but what really. Drove this point home to me. With the recognition again that in my garden as well as in the universe every single thing that God created animate or inanimate is in relationship with other things you tell me something that's not in relationship something that exists and is not in relationship there's there is nothing. So when I'm working in my garden I'm managing relationships that's my job. The squash plant in my garden is in a relationship with me and with the soil and with the microbes that are in the soil and with the wind and the rain and with the sun and the moon and much more I mean the relationships were extensive You know I used to be amazed at at the entry to seize of the individual creatures that God created and I still am but I have to tell you what truly was me now is. Is all the relationships and the connections that God has established there's a pattern here that's consistent throughout the universe everything in creation exists within intricate and elegant webs networks systems of relationships. Like wheels and wheels each spinning independently and at the same time all spinning together and connecting on multiple levels. We have electrons and protons circling a nucleus we have moons circling planets we have planets circling suns and we have sung circling within galaxies and galaxies are circling what. They're circling we know that. God is stablished this order for the children of Israel in the wilderness to you know they have their camp all around. The tabernacle. We have ecosystems we have food systems we have water cycles we have oxygen cycles we have nutrient cycles the fact that everything God created is so intricate Lee and elegantly interconnected and interdependent is evidence to me that relationships are highly significant to God and if relationships are so significant to God then what should they be for me. If my goal is to grow into God's image and likeness so hot on the heels of this realisation came the recognition that with all of these relationships and connections something must keep them all in order or we would have chaos. Of course God foresaw this and he has set out he established parameters for every relationship within which life has fostered and outside of them life deteriorate. And example of these parameters in the garden is a tomato. If it if a tomato freezes what happens. It dies so freezing is outside the parameters of life for a tomato. Of course there are there are a host of other parameters in the garden as well such as water availability day length nutrient availability the environmental natch and we could go on and on but there are all these parameters there and. Another name for parameters is law all law exist to govern relationships. That's true whether we're talking about natural law. Or traffic laws. Or business laws or the 10 Commandment laws. You see the 10 Commandments were created to govern relationship. Law is what enables wheels to spend within wheels without colliding. Law in the able systems and webs of life to function a life giving rather than life destructive way all law established by God whether natural or moral is for this end and the final characteristic of God dominion that I want to share with you today and I want to say I'm sure there are so many more but I just want to share 1 more with you. And that is that God don't menu and is for the purpose of fruit fruit is the goal or reason for Dominion It's like the currency of God's dominion fruit is why we expend our lives in the garden fruit is also ultimately why we expend ourselves in any labor that we do fruit is why Christ expended his life for us and fruit is why we spend our lives for others and fruit is generally the result of relationship. Male and female mentor and learner encourager and encouraged. There is no fruit from the solitary or isolated life and it's God's desire that we bear fruit he said by this is my father glorified that you bear much fruit in John 158 in fact that whole 1st part of John 15 talking about the vine and the branches it's all about fruit. So in summary. It was God's purpose for us that we have dominion and he intended that we model our dominion on his dominion in other words as he has done Mannion in his fear he intended for us to have dominion in our sphere. God's dominion of life giving God's dominion is relational God's dominion is ordered God's dominion is for fruit. And the garden is the place that God placed put us to learn and practice how to have dominion in His image so I'm hoping that you will be blessed as you work in your garden and as you grow in the image of God in exercising dominion the way that he does our Father in heaven. We thank you that you created us to have dominion in your image and we thank you that your image is such a beautiful image this image of life giving of nourishing and cherishing. Of having concern for the well being of others. That they be fruitful. Father this is not natural for us and you know that after the fall our tendency has been our natural tendency is to dominate. Rather than have life given dominion. We want to underline that and we want to learn to walk in your steps the way that you do that. We pray that you and you would go with us and that you would teach us as we work in the garden. In Jesus' name. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more service pleated visit W.W.W. audio verse or.


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