What Are We Sowing? (Reblogged)

“Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear” (Luke 8:8 NIV)

Jesus said, when seed (The Word of God) falls onto good ground, it will yield a crop (growth) a hundred times more than there once was. He also goes on to say, “he who has an ear to hear, let him hear.” So why does Jesus relate this parable to his disciples and how does it apply to us today? The point being made here is two-fold; both on a spiritual level, but one pertaining to the wealth that God has entrusted us with and the other, the wealth of souls that God has entrusted to us. If we misunderstand God’s intent, we sow discord and doubt into the midst of the congregations and fuel the unbelievers’ attempts to thwart the Word of God.

First, we must understand that the resources (money) that God provides to us are to be used as seed to be sown in good ground. If we are sowing seed (giving money) to churches in which there is no growth and in fact is being used to promote man’s kingdom instead of the kingdom of God, we do God a disservice. We are to be good stewards—weighing carefully how we use the resources God gives us and making sure that our use—will eventually bring glory to God.

We need to make sure that we are wise teachers (sowers) of the Word and our only agenda is to win souls to Christ; not to us. We must make every attempt to fulfill the commission given to us to go out into all the world, teaching the Word, baptizing in Jesus’ name so that all can come into the knowledge of the Truth (God’s truth, not ours).

The flip side of seeing growth and maturity is to see stagnation of both money and people. Misusing the resources will eventually feel like money placed in pockets with holes—steadily being lost along the way. Manipulating the Word for selfish gains will eventually see more space and vacant seats in churches as people leave. For those who have an ear to hear, let them hear.

We must be good stewards of what God has given us. Are we promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ (salvation, forgiveness, and love) or are we just having church? Are we utilizing the monetary resources to assist the poor and the needy, to promote the Gospel, or are we just having church fundraisers? Church leaders must be accountable to the Word. Church members must be accountable to the Word by studying for themselves. Remember, he/she who wins souls must be wise. They who anticipate seeing growth/increase must make sure they are sowing (or watering) in good ground. We must be willing to do deep soul searching and introspection to make sure we are doing everything we can to glory God. He that has an ear to hear, let him hear.

What are you sowing? Are you sowing in good ground?

(Revised and re-blogged from 12/13/12)

It’s Me O Lord!

“It’s me, it’s me, it’s me O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.”

This song, learned many years ago, rose in my spirit this morning and it gave me pause to think. I spend a great deal of time praying for others–for situations–in their lives and on personal and global levels. When I started singing this song (in my spirit), I realized that I need prayer, too. So, if you feel the same way I do, this post is dedicated to you, too.

Father, in the name of Jesus,

I wake up each morning with gratitude, thanking You for all You have done.

I study Your Word and listen carefully to hear You speak, before I write one word

To be published, in an effort to teach, share and encourage.

I make sure that others know that I’m praying with and for them,

On a daily basis, and never ignore a request for prayer when I see it.

But Lord, sometimes the burden gets so heavy, that I become weak

In my spirit and know that I have to rely upon You to get through a day,

I count on You at every turn to give me the right words to say,

That will warn, remind, teach, encourage and point others Your Way.

Now, not knowing which way to turn for myself, I look to You to show,

Me how not to become so drained that I forget I must get refueled to know

That I can continue upon this path, into Your Word, and sharing You

Without caving to public opinion and political correctness or even thinking

About how others may interpret or misinterpret what is said, but as I lay

In my bed, pouring my soul out to You, I must know that what I do, matters,

If only to You. So, Lord this day, with Your permission, I take leave to fuel

My soul and put myself in position to hear You clearly without the noise of chatter

From people who do not understand that You are God and not a man

That should lie or keep us in the dark, not knowing what to do,

When in reality, all we have we can count on, is You.

Hear my prayer O Lord, give me strength to stay in the fight against

Injustice, Bigotry, Hate and Sin and with You on my side, I know, We win!

Thank You for listening to my heart, with these words before I depart–Amen!

No Shame In Hope!

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5 NIV).

Children are always hoping for something–that special gift for Christmas or birthdays, a special vacation place, good grades even though they did not work for them, or for a loving family–when left in limbo after abandonment by parents.

Sometimes, we call the hope–wistful thinking–we hope to get “it” whatever it is, but don’t really believe it is possible. Well, we are God’s children and in this instance, hope–steadfast faith in God and the unseen–is possible when we do not doubt. Our hope in God and whatever He has promised is not just wistful thinking, but on occasion, we hope for things we have not worked towards getting–and that is still wistful thinking–on our part.

Hope in God is never a waste of time. We know that He has poured His love into us and when we are obedient to His Word–we have the right to expect His working on our behalf. His Word tells us that, “eye has not seen nor ear heard of all the great things He has in store for us.” If He has great things in store–laid up–waiting for us–then we hope to see it manifested in our lives and we wait and do all He has required us to do.

There are times when we get so caught up in doing what He has said to do, we often don’t recognize His work on our behalf, but before we know it–our hopes have been fulfilled and we see what we desired. What a wonderful God!

How do we know when we are doing what God requires? Holy Spirit–the gift given to us to direct us–speaks to our hearts and reminds us what we are to do and how we are to treat others. When people do not understand what we do–that is because of their unbelief–and non-existent relationship with God. We must have hope in God and not people, because people often disappoint us, but God never disappoints. We are sometimes disappointed with God because of misdirected hope and unrealistic expectations, but that is our doing–not God’s. When we rebel against God, we only hurt ourselves, not God!

But hope in God–leaves no room for us to be ashamed of anything we do or say–no matter how the enemy attempts to undermine our faith. There is no reason to be ashamed of our faith in the One who holds the fate of the entire world in His hands. Since we know He loves us–we have no need to fear what the enemy might do or what unbelievers may say–we are His children and He gives only good gifts to those He loves.

Wind Tossed!

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6,7).

Watching the waves of the sea roil, without consideration for anything in its path can be terrifying and yet it can also be spell-binding. The wind–the mass of air that no one see–can be an awesome wonder to watch. I’ve watched the wind–a tornado–tear the roof off of an apartment building right behind the one I was in. I’ve watched the damage of the wind–from a hurricane–turn lives upside down. I can only imagine how absolutely petrified people might become when watching a tsunami, fueled by angry winds destroy their livelihoods, homes, and lives. The wind–a force by which no one can control or see–has the power to change lives. 

Now, think about that power and how James compares doubt to that power. When doubt moves us from faith, we give doubt the power to change our lives and keep us from receiving that for which we have asked of God. In the beginning of this chapter, James is talking about asking God for wisdom, but he references something the Jesus said when He was teaching His disciples about prayer. “Whatever we say and don’t doubt, we can have (paraphrase). “When we pray, we believe we receive and we shall have it,” (Mark 11:22,23). Jesus shows us how powerful faith can be, but James demonstrates how powerful doubt can be with the illustration of the wind and waves.

The question we must ask ourselves is, are we wind-tossed or are we standing in faith, believing we can have what we ask of God? Perhaps, the answer lies in whether or not we can honestly say we have asked and received or we have asked and doubted (if only for a nanosecond) and not received. Therefore, “since faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” we have two powerful forces working in our lives that no can visibly see–faith and doubt. If we stand firm on our faith in God, we shall see the “stuff” which is the evidence of God’s working on our behalf, even though we didn’t see how He did it. And like the wind (we see the results of wind’s movement, not wind itself) so too shall we see the results of faith or doubt in our lives.

Whatever it is we need right now–we can ask of God, in the name of Jesus, stand firmly in faith that we will receive it and we shall have it. If we need healing–we ask and receive; if we need a financial blessing–we ask and receive; if we need direction–we ask and receive; if we need wisdom (the first request)–we ask and receive.  We shall have whatever we ask for when we do not allow doubt to deter (move) our faith! Glory to God for favor and faith to accomplish all He has planned for us! Hallelujah!

What The Lord Requires!

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”(Micah 6:8 NIV).

Whenever God is getting ready to do something extraordinary, He finds those who are willing to hear Him and speak what He says. Through the prophets of old and those who “speak” as God speaks to them now, He never does anything without giving us fair warning. The problem is–like those of old who went into captivity–we choose not to hear those God is using to warn us and when calamity hits–we blame God.

Listen to the prophet Micah! God has shown us what is good and acceptable in His sight–those things that we mere mortals can do and what we receive from obedience. What does the Lord require of us? To act justly–without bias due to disagreement, to love mercy–willing to forgive those who have violated a trust or committed a wrong against us, and to walk humbly before God–not thinking we are better than any other human being.

Are we listening? Do we understand what the Lord requires? Based upon my observations–especially on social medias–we have not heard, we are not listening, and we are certainly not doing what the Lord requires. There is such hatred spread in cyberspace for those with whom people disagree–by those who claim to be Christians. The fact that they can hate so openly, exposes them for the liars they are and who their daddy is–Satan. Where is the justice we show to those who disagree with us? Our opinions of them are biased and we allow that bias to grow into disdain and hate. The very words we write and the “cartoons” we use to depict our growing disdain reveals our true inner selves. Where is the mercy? There is little displayed towards those in elected positions–the leaders in authority. Were we not told to pray for those in authority so we might live a peaceful life? Obviously, we are not praying for those in authority because we’re spending too much time, denigrating those in authority–unable to mask the hatred that dwells within in our hearts.

Then we dare to attempt to think ourselves better than others–claiming the name of Jesus, but actually demoralizing who Jesus is with our behavior. Jesus commanded us to “love one another” as He loves us. We cannot love someone and spew hate about them at the same time. Doing so makes us hypocritical and a liar. We cannot serve God and Satan at the same time–we either magnify and honor one or the other with our deeds, but we cannot honor both.

Micah and the rest of the prophets had a great deal to say–warning the people of impending disaster, but people didn’t listen then and they are certainly not listening now. When God was silent for over 400 years, the people were miserable–because they chose not to heed those speaking–and refused to change their behavior.

God is yet warning, yet requiring us to act with justice, mercy and humility. Are we hearing Him? Will we ever do what He says in order to see what He has promised us as a nation or will we just complain and undermine the authority of leaders by promoting hatred? God help us all!

Father, in the name of Jesus, we pray for leadership all over the world. We ask You to speak to their hearts, giving them a word of wisdom and direction so all may live in peace and honor You. Fill them with love overflowing and stop the mouths of those who promote hatred against them. Lord, Your will be done in the lives of all–preparing us to reap what we have sown in the earth. Forgive us for our foolish and rebellious attitudes and help us to see You in Your glory so all we do, magnifies You and not us. Thank You for giving us chance after chance to get it right. Amen!

Today Is Your Appointed Time!

“See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:10 NIV).

Everyday, most of us have scheduled appointments we have either written down on a calendar, in a planner or programmed into our phones. This is how we manage and budget out time so we can get things done. But notice I said, this is how “we” manage our time. Have we thought about what our appointments would be if we allowed God to manage our time?

Imagine how Jeremiah must have felt when The Lord spoke to him! The Lord reminded Jeremiah that before he was formed in the womb, He had plans for him. He also told him that he had no need to fear what others might say or think of him and that he would never be alone. Before Jeremiah could open his mouth to say anything, The Lord spoke and told him not to make excuses about not doing what He told him. And then, He told Jeremiah, “today, I have appointed you over nations and kingdoms” to expose all that is not right, tear it down and rebuild per my specifications (slightly paraphrased). Although Jeremiah had his doubts, he eventually fulfilled his role in God’s plan for his life.

What about us? Have we heard God speak to our hearts and know without a doubt that He has plans for us–an appointed time–for which we must do what He tells us to do? Are we making excuses for not doing what we know we have heard Him say? When we know we are to speak God’s Word to people, do we shy away from doing so because we think we are incapable of speaking or too young, or too old, too short, too fat, too thin, too tall, too ignorant, too knowledgeable about science to speak God’s Word? What are the excuses that we’re making?

In the 21st Century, we have an advantage that Jeremiah didn’t have–technology. We have an avenue through cyberspace to speak God’s Word through social mediums, blogging, emailing, texting, and even with the advantage, some are still making excuses. “I can’t spell; I can’t write; I don’t know these people; they won’t follow/fan me if I talk about God, etc.” Excuses to be disobedient–now find reasons to obey, this day!

Since God is no respecter of persons, He will use anyone who is willing to be used to get what He wants done. With Him, “there is no male or female, Jew or Gentile,” just willing people–who hear and obey. This day, right now, determine within yourself that you are going to hear what God says and obey. You are not going to make any more excuses; you are going to do what you have been appointed to do, without any regard to how people will think of you or what they might say. And if you feel as though you’ll be persecuted for doing what is right–you’re not alone and you’re not the first.

Now get up and get ready–open your heart to hear God speak and then allow Him to give you the words to speak to others in order to expose evil–from the highest to the lowest in the nation, tear it down and prepare to rebuild with the values and presence of The Lord. This day–you have been appointed, gifted and anointed to do all the things God has given you to do! Today–let’s get it done!

 

 

Heaven Sent!

“He shall send from heaven and save me;

He reproaches the one who would swallow me up. Selah

God shall send forth His mercy and His truth” (Psalm 57:3 NKJV).

Before He put in an appearance,

On earth in the flesh,

A Promise was made to those of old,

Received and believed and committed to life,

That He would send from Heaven

The Pathway to salvation,

From the influence of the evil one,

Wrapped in Truth in Mercy,

Motivated by His Love for all mankind,

Determined to reconcile our broken relationship,

Pursuing us, yet giving us-a choice!

For you and me, He was Heaven sent.

And now nothing can ever dissuade us

From turning to Him–receiving His Love,

Grateful for His Grace and Mercy

And The Truth Of His Word!

 

 

The Gift That Keeps Giving!

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9 NIV).

No matter how many times I read this segment of Scripture, I am constantly amazed at how much God loves us. The gift of grace, showered upon those of us who certainly have not earned His favor, but have it any way. Wow! What an awesome God!

Since He knows us and our propensity to boast about “how good we are” or a number of other things we do to proclaim our salvation, He reminds us that it is not by “our works” (what we do or don’t do) that saves, but because of His grace–the gift of the work on the cross–because of His love that we are saved. Why do we need to be reminded of this? Because of those who love to “try to control others” by constantly telling people who is or who is not saved.

Most of us know some of these people by what “they say.” If a person does not agree with them, their constant rejoinder is, “you need to be saved.” If a person has a differing view of scripture, “you need to be saved.” If a person doesn’t attend a certain church, “you need to be saved.” If a person doesn’t wear their clothes exactly right, “you need to be saved.” If a person goes to a movie,” you need to be saved.” If a person watches television,” you need to be saved.” If a person doesn’t read their bible every hour on the hour, “you need to be saved.” This list could go on and on, but the point here is–they are the ones who have forgotten–we are saved by grace, not by works. They are the ones who are attempting to get into heaven by their works, not realizing their constant misjudgment of people will certainly not bode well for them.

Since I have accepted the gift of grace from God (not man), I am saved. I honor Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and try always to do those things that please Him. I do not know what others have done at any point in their life and I certainly acknowledge the fact that we are not all going to agree about a number of things–pertaining to salvation, but that does not mean a person is not saved. That judgment call is up to God, not me.

However, we do know that when people are saved, they do good works–helping others, encouraging others, praying for others, and warning others (not judging them). They do the works because they are saved; not because they are trying to be saved. The gift of grace–God’s unearned, unmerited favor–is the gift that keeps on giving when we do the good works God inspires us to do for others.

Lord Jesus, we thank You for the gift of Grace that You give us, bringing us into relationship with You so we can hear and obey all You say to us. Thank You for using us in demonstration of the gift that keeps giving.

The Irrefutable Testimony!

“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16 NIV).

There are a number of people who are confused as to whether or not they are descendants of Abraham and entitled to all the benefits of being one of God’s chosen. From the beginning, God chose those He wanted to call His own and bless. This relationship was based on a natural connection to Abraham through bloodline (the basis of most relationships claiming to be family). However, because many of the natural relatives were rebellious and disobedient, the connective relationship with God was broken and Jesus had to come to restore it.

When the relationship was restored through the work on the cross, all who chose to accept Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord became part of the family by adoption through Holy Spirit. Now, if we are adopted into the family of Abraham, and recognized by God as being part of the family, why on earth are we confused?

Instead of listening to those who are confused and allow negativity to reign in their lives, we must know for ourselves whose children we are. Imagine this event being played out in a courtroom. We have been charged with proclaiming we are joint-heirs with Christ (He’s our elder brother) and thereby children of the most High God. All of the witnesses of religious dogma have been called to testify against us, but there is One who testifies with irrefutable evidence-the Word of God. Holy Spirit convinces our spirit that we are the children of God and as such, entitled to all the benefits and promises of God!

Do we dare believe Him? Absolutely, we dare and proclaim from the mountain tops and throughout the valleys that we are children of God. We have a right to proclaim God as our Father, Jesus as our elder brother and Holy Spirit as our guide and counselor in all matters. We have a right to receive all the benefits God promised the Children of Israel from the beginning. We can claim with assurance that God has planned our lives and He planned them with purpose–that we might prosper and have a future with hope. We can proclaim that whatever we put our hands to when we obey God, will succeed. We can rest assured of His promises of victory–being the head and not the tail, being healed by the stripes Jesus bore before being nailed to the cross, having an eternal resting place with Jesus when we choose to be obedient. We have a right to make these claims when we have accepted the adopting agent–our faith in God.

Now with the right to receive all the promises, we all put ourselves in position to receive all the persecution and negativity that was directed at Jesus. We must stay focused on Him and never lose sight of the prize in Christ Jesus–our hope must remain intact until the end when we receive our eternal reward. However, when we choose not to be obedient, we must also expect to receive the consequences that were also promised to those children who disobeyed.

Think about it! Are you proclaiming to be a child of the Most High? I have been accused of proclaiming an inheritance in Jesus–and the evidence provided by Holy Spirit is irrefutable! Hallelujah! I am a child of the Most High, entitled to all His many benefits!