Seeds For Success

Seeds for success

Mark 4:14-20 NKJV The sower sows the word. “And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; “and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, “and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. “But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit; some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

God’s word is the seed that is sown into the hearts of people. It is when it reaches the heart that action takes place. The seed, God’s word, is good, but the heart of people sometimes impede it from taking action, growing and bearing fruit. It is up to the person to make sure that their heart is ready to receive the seed. We plow up the fallow ground of our hearts through prayer, asking God to show us things that would hinder the growth of His word. We also prepare our hearts to receive by yielding to God’s Spirit within us and telling Him He is welcome to come and convict us of sin that might stop us from receiving the Word of God. Holy Spirit also fellowships with us as we spend time with the Lord in prayer. We prepare our hearts to receive the seed of God’s word and then when it falls on good ground it bears fruit in our lives.

One of the things that works against us in receiving the seed into our hearts is the devil, Satan, who comes only to steal, kill and destroy. Verse 15 says that he comes immediately to try to steal it away from us. We protect the word that has been sown in our hearts by submitting to God and resisting the devil. (James 4:7) Our hearts are also protected through watching, being self-controlled, and resisting him being steadfast in the faith. (1 Peter 5:8, 9) Faith in God and exercising our ability to believe and receive His word prepares our heart to receive the good seed that is sown in our hearts. The walk of faith becomes a fight when the devil comes to steal God’s word out of our hearts. We must protect the seed!

When the word falls on stony ground it’s like a flash in the pan, so to speak. The person is excited about what God has just spoken to them, but because they haven’t taken the time to develop what they already know about God the new seed has a slim chance of surviving. When trouble comes they stumble because they haven’t developed a deep enough root bed for the seed to develop and grow. They don’t have the tenacity to fight the good fight of faith and win the battle. Obstacles in their path become bigger than the God that they serve. Trouble becomes the focus instead of Jesus who has overcome the world for us! Freedom lies within our relationship with Him, but it’s what we set before our mind’s eye that we will follow. If the vision that we have is that of trouble and having no way out, then we will follow that path. But if God’s word and the strength that comes from drawing from the Lord Jesus’ ability to empower us to win becomes our focus then we will succeed.

Then we see the cares of this world and the desire for material blessings choking the word that has been sown in the hearts of those who are described as having thorns, or what I see as mixed beliefs. The person with this heart doesn’t know for sure what they believe. They flit from one hot spot to another, not taking the time to focus on the truth of God’s word and allow it to judge between what they are hearing and believing from each different teaching. God’s word is sharper than a two-edged sword dividing between the soul and spirit and it judges even the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) It is as we allow the Holy Spirit to bring life to the Word that we know is true that we find freedom from the cares of this world. That comes through diligently studying and applying God’s word to our lives. There are many false teachings that have come from different groups through the years that brings thorns into our lives when we receive them as truth!

The only ground that provides a good seed bed for the Word of God is the ground that is steeped in humility, ready to receive and act on the seed that is sown into the heart. 1 Peter 5:5 says “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” It is a heart that is after God’s heart; humble and ready to receive that makes good ground that when the seed is sown into it becomes a fruitful field. It is a heart that has died to it’s own desires in order to live for the desires of the heavenly Father. A life that is lived for the world is a life that will be lost, but one that has made the choice to live for God will live.

John 12 24

John 12:24 -26 NKJV “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. “He who loves his life will lost it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

The Word of God is filled with seeds for success. What will we do with them? Will we be a people with a good heart that is ready to receive His word and act on it so it will bear a good harvest?

Father, I thank You for Your Word. I pray that my heart may be good ground for it to grow in and that when the seed of Your word is sown into my heart it will take root and grow and bear a hundred fold harvest in my life. Father, I ask You to help me see the areas that I need to submit more to You. I pray that Your Spirit might convict me of those things that are hindering me from being a person with a heart that is ready to receive Your word. Show me, Father, what I need to change to be more ready to receive and bear a fruitful harvest through my life. Thank You, Father, for Your grace, mercy and love! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

Forget The Past And Embrace The Future

Yesterday's junk

Philippians 3:12-14 NLT I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is call us up to heaven.

Some years ago, as many of you know, I went through a terribly difficult period after losing my husband. One Sunday I was sitting in church listening to my Pastor’s message and God, the Holy Spirit, spoke to my heart and said, “you can’t fully embrace the good things that I have for you in your future if you don’t turn loose of your past”. It was at that moment that I realized that in order to move forward in my life I would have to leave the past behind and walk into my future expecting God to do what He had promised. Paul speaks of that very idea in this portion of scripture in Philippians. Sometimes we get caught up in what has happened in the past to the point that we lose sight of the possibilities of anything good happening in the future.

Your past does not have to determine your future. The only power your past has over you is what you give it. You may have some things in your past that you really don’t want to see show up again in your future. It won’t if you don’t empower it through fear. Fear is described as false evidence appearing real. God had a great plan for my future which He has so graciously provided in my current husband, Gerald. But I have had to battle the spirit of fear that has repeatedly come to try to steal my peace after having lost my former husband. The spirit of fear is always around trying to tell us that what has happened in the past will repeat itself. It is our responsibility to fight the good fight of faith where fear is concerned.

James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

The progression in fighting the fear that all of us encounter at one point or another is to first submit yourself to God. God’s will is the most important part of my life. I want to be in the center of His will. When I submit myself to Him I am saying, “Father, not my will but Yours be done”. Regardless of what His will is, I know that I will be content if I am in that place where He is in the center of my life. After we have committed ourselves to Him then we must resist the temptation from the devil to allow fear to step into that place of authority that is only reserved for God. When we resist the temptation presented by the devil, he must turn and run from us. We am then the victors in that situation.

1 Peter 5:8, 9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

The devil is pretty dumb, really. He uses the same tactics over and over again. His main weapon is deception. If he can deceive us through fear and convince us that what he is saying is true then we will come into agreement with him, empowering him to fulfill the fear that he has given us. The scripture says to be sober and vigilant, watching and listening for him so you can identify his strategy. Then we are to resist him being steadfast in the faith.

The Greek word for sober in this verse means “self-controlled”. God speaks to us about being self-controlled in 2 Timothy 1:7 when He says:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

The fear that this scripture is talking about does not come from God. The only fear that God wants us to have is a reverence for Him; a holy awe that is known as the “fear of God”. The fear that is referred to in this scripture comes from the devil; it is a spirit of fear.

The word for “sound mind” is sophronismos and it means “safe-thinking”. The word denotes good judgment, disciplined thought patterns, and the ability to understand and make right decisions. It includes the qualities of self-control and self-discipline.

A part of resisting the devil is using self-control in watching for his strategies. You can’t lay down on the job and think that he won’t try it again. When he finished his temptation with Jesus in the wilderness the Word says that he left Him for a more opportune time.

Luke 4:13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.

We have an enemy who watches to see how we react to his attacks. He cannot read our minds, but he can hear what we say and he watches to see whether we will react or respond to the thoughts that he sends to attack our minds. It is with that in mind that I must remind you that the Word says we are to take captive every thought that comes to us that doesn’t line up with the Word of God.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

We are to filter our thoughts! If they are in opposition to what the Word of God says, then we are to cast them down, or arrest them! We do not have to receive every thought that lights upon our minds. We are to judge them and bring those wrong thoughts into captivity. Replace the wrong ones with the Word of God that counteracts the thought. That means that we need to have a working knowledge of God’s Word. How can you stop a wrong thought if you don’t know it’s not right?

Psalm 119:97-100 Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, Because I keep Your precepts.

We come to understand what is a right or wrong thought by meditating on the Word of God. His Word makes us wise so we can recognize the error in a thought and then counter it with a correct scripture. God speaks wisdom to us through His Word as we meditate on it. When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness He countered the attack by speaking the correct scripture to the devil with “it is written”. He is our example!

If we want to fully embrace what God has for us in the future we must forget the past, turn aside from fear and wrong thoughts and, as Paul said in Philippians 3:13, reach forward to those things which are ahead. We must “press” toward the goal that God has for us!

As I stated earlier in this post, when I was sitting in that service listening to my Pastor’s message and the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart about turning loose of the past, my Pastor made the statement that “the best is yet to come”. At that time I couldn’t see anything good out there in my future. I had to grasp that statement with every ounce of faith that I could muster. I went home with the assurance that God indeed had a good plan for my life even though my past did not reflect a promise of good for my future. We all have choices to make every day of our lives. We can either listen and obey God’s voice and directions for our lives or resign ourselves to living a repeat of the past.

Three C's to life

Reaching toward the prize and pressing into it requires faith! Faith is trusting God to do what He has promised before we see even a glimpse of the reality of it.

Faith makes things possible

It’s not easy to resist the temptation to fear, but it is possible. It’s not easy to step out on a limb believing that God is there to grow it out for you, but it is possible. Faith makes it possible; but not easy!

What is it in your past that seems to haunt you and stop you from stepping out in faith to receive the impossible? Praise God, I am living proof that God is faithful to fulfill His promises when you believe Him and obey His directions. He has so blessed me with my Gerald! He is everything that I could have ever wanted in a husband! He is my gift from God!

Father, I thank You for the good future that you have planned for each of Your children. I pray today that those who read this blog who may be experiencing difficulties in life will be able to see that You are good and that You want to bless them with a good future as well. Father, I pray that they will get a glimpse of the good that You have planned for them. I pray that they will turn loose of their past and look forward to the future. Father, I ask You to show them the attacks of the enemy before they happen. Help them to recognize the false thoughts that he sends to attack them with fear and deception. Bring back to their remembrance the scriptures that You want them to use in countering those thoughts. I pray, Father, that they will speak out loud Your promises and use them as the Sword of the Spirit at Your direction. Thank You, Father, for the victory that You promise each of Your children as we fight the good fight of faith and stand firm and steadfast on Your Word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

God Is My Source!

 

Psalm 62:5-8 NLT I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor come from God alone, He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.                                                                                                                      Interlude

Avies paraphrase: God alone is my Source; He is my refuge from the storm, my high fortress for protection from my enemies. He is my salvation and my honor; my hope is in Him and when I am in His protective custody no enemy can reach me! I trust in Him at all times! I pour out my heart to Him in times of trouble because He is my refuge. It is in Him alone that I put my trust and my hope!

Through the last year I have seen and heard of so much fear that is going around through the internet and from well meaning friends. I have had to weed through what I chose to believe and what I believed was simply scare tactics sent from the evil one. I am amazed at how much fear has been circulated through the lives of well meaning Christians. It serves to me as an indicator of where our faith is and what needs to be taught to strengthen us to meet the challenges of our future. As I’ve read and studied God’s word throughout the last 25 years the one thing that has repeatedly been revealed to me is that God is a God of faith; He does not instigate fear in the hearts of His people, but we have an enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy and his attacks against God’s people are based on his ability to deceive and cause us to fear what he can do more than we have faith in God’s ability to provide for, protect and bless His people. We may be going through tough times, but the God who spoke the world into existence is the One in which I place my trust and I know that He will provide and care for His own!

Psalm 118:8, 9 It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes.

It has been said that Psalm 118:8, 9 are the verses that are at the very center of the Bible. I have not counted them to see if it is true; however, I did research it a little and found that there is substantiation that supports this belief. Both of these verses speak of trusting God instead of man.

Look at what it says: (Amplified Bible) It is better to trust and take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust and take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.

There is one who we are to trust and take refuge in; God and Him alone! He is the only Source that we can count on. He is the One who will protect from the storm; provide a refuge in the time of trouble; hear and rescue us from disaster. Who are you placing your trust in? Where is your faith?

Jesus chastened His disciples for not having faith when they were in the boat crossing over the sea and a great storm arose when He was asleep in the boat and they became frightened that they were going to perish because the storm was raging around them. They woke Him from his sleep and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38) The scripture goes on to say that Jesus arose, rebuked the wind and said to the storm, “Peace, be still!” When the sea obeyed he turned to His disciples and said, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:39, 40)

Could it be that God is asking us, as born again believers, the same thing in the day of our storm? “Why are you so fearful?” “How is it that you have no faith?” Jesus was right there in the boat with His disciples when they encountered the storm. God is right here with us, living within each believer by the presence of His Spirit. He is with us in the midst of our storms. Has He not said that the Greater One lives within us and is greater than he that is in the world? (1 John 4:4)

Jesus Himself cautioned His disciples about getting caught up in the tribulations that were yet to come in John 16:32, 33:

“Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

How did Jesus overcome the tribulation of the world? By depending on the Father who was with Him. He knew His source was not in man, but in the Father. He placed His faith in God, not in man. His trust was in His Source, the One true God. He knew where He had come from and where He was going. (John 13:3) You may say, “well, He was the Son of God”; “He was God Himself, in a physical body”. And that is true, Jesus is the Son of God; the second person of the Trinity; the very exact representation of the Father. But, Jesus was also a human being, like you and me, who depended on the presence of the Holy Spirit within Him as God, His Father, had anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and power to go about doing good; preach, teaching and healing; demonstrating the power of God resident within the life of a believer. (Acts 10:38) Jesus laid His deity aside to become a human being that He might experience all that we experience in life and still overcome and be counted worthy to redeem mankind through paying the penalty for our sin. (Philippians 2:5-11) It took a sinless man to redeem the authority back that man had given to the devil through the Fall in the Garden of Eden. (Romans 5:12-21) Jesus depended on the Father, through the power of the Spirit that we might have a worthy example to follow showing us how to life by faith, just as He did.

Romans 12:3 tells us that we have all been given a measure of faith. But our success in our walk of faith depends on what we do with that measure that we have been given. Jesus’ disciples once asked Him to give them more faith and He simply responded that it only take the faith of a mustard seed to pull up a mulberry tree by its roots and plant it in the sea. (Luke 17:5,6) The size of our faith is dependent up the size of our God. Do we see God as a small God or has He been magnified in our lives to the magnificent, all-powerful God that He really is?

God told Joshua when he was getting ready to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land that He would be with him and would not leave him nor forsake him. He told him to be of good courage; that no man would be able to stand before him and that as He was with Moses so He would be with Joshua. He went on to say in Joshua 1:7-9:

“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Notice that He instructed Joshua to meditate in the Word; that’s what the Book of the Law was at that time. He told him to not let it depart from his mouth, but to meditate in it day and night, and be sure to observe all that is written in it. In other words, don’t just read it, but DO it! In the book of Romans it is recorded that our faith grows through hearing the Word; or in other words, faith arises within us through meditating on the Word of God.

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Faith comes as we hear and do the word of God. Faith grows within our spirits through meditating on the Word! To meditate in the Hebrew means “to reflect; to moan; to mutter; to ponder; to meditate or contemplate something as one repeats the words. The Hebrew word for meditate, hagah, represents something quite unlike the English “meditation”, which may be a mental exercise only. In Hebrew thought, to meditate upon the Scriptures is to quietly repeat them in a soft, droning sound, while utterly abandoning outside distractions. To meditate on the Word of God for faith to arise in your heart is to speak the Scriptures over and over again until they take root in your spirit and become life to you! When God’s word as the solution to your problem becomes bigger within you than the problem is on the outside of you, then you will have faith to overcome because God is your Source!

1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Just being born again does not mean that you overcome the world. The potential is there but it is not automatic. The victory comes as you exercise your faith to overcome! Thank God, He has well equipped each one of us for the victory, but will we do what is necessary to send fear fleeing and win the good fight of faith?

Father, I thank You for being my Source. I know that You have well equipped me to be a faith-walker and a conqueror through my faith in You and Your presence within me! Thank You, Father, for giving each one of us the measure of faith that we need to develop our ability to win over the effects of this present age. Father, I lift up to You those who may be struggling in their faith walk today. I ask You to show them who they are in Christ Jesus and the great power that You have made available to them through Your Spirit within them. I pray that they will be encouraged in knowing that You are their Source and there is nothing that the evil one can throw against them that can conquer or defeat them when they lean on and trust in You as their refuge and defender. Thank You for granting them the victory through Christ Jesus their Lord! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

Sharper Than A Sword!

2 Timothy 3:16,17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 that “’Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Well, there’s so much meat in these two scriptures that we could chew for days and be spiritually nourished. But for today I just want to give you a little better understanding from looking at a few words in these verses about the importance of feeding on His Scriptures.

To begin with, the verse starts out with ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God. What does ALL mean? It means every word, regardless of it’s grammatical placing in the sentence or verse, has a specific reason for being in God’s word. It has a place in our lives to give us spiritual nourishment. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.

Scripture – Greek word “graphe” – Strong’s #1124 – means a document, anything written, the holy writ, the Scriptures. Graphe points to the divine author with the idea that what is written remains forever identified as the living voice of God.

The Scriptures are and will forever be identified as the “living voice of God”. The word “inspiration” means that it is God-breathed! God’s word is so important to us because it is God-breathed; His very own voice speaking to us to give us strength and nourishment for our spirit man!

The verse goes on to say that the Scriptures are profitable to us! Profitable means that it is useful to us. It brings gain into our lives. The Word goes on to say that the profit it gives is in four different areas: doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness. So, let’s look at these four words a little more in detail so we can gain a greater understanding of the importance of God’s word.

Doctrine – Greek word didaskalia – Strong’s # – means that which is taught.

Doctrine, in God’s word means the teaching of God. It is His principles and precepts spoken out of His mouth that is alive and powerful to work for our good, to our advantage.

Reproof – Greek word elegehos – Strong’s #1650 – means proof, conviction, evidence.

God’s word proves itself; it never goes against what other Scriptures on the same subject would reveal. It convicts our hearts and gives evidence of the way we should be living. Another translation says it rebukes or tests us bringing conviction where it’s needed to convince us of the way we should be living.

Correction – Greek word epanorthisis – Strong’s #1882 – means a restoration to an upright or right state which brings a person to an improvement of life and character.

When we are headed down the wrong path, God’s word will correct us so that we are restored to a right way of living. It improves our lives; our character and our position bringing us into right thinking. The word of God shows us how to stay on the right path.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

Instruction – Greek word paideia – Strong’s #3809 – means education or training; chastening, instruction, nurture.

The word of God educates and trains us through discipline and nurture. This word gives the implication of the training of a child where all forms of instruction are applied: education, training, correcting, disciplining, instructing and nurturing. God’s voice as it is breathed into our hearts trains us in how we are to live in righteousness; His right way of living.

Righteousness – Greek word dikaiosyne – Strong’s #1466 – means that which is consistent with God’s nature and promises; God’s right way of doing things.

The Word of God teaches us, tests us on what we learn, convicts us when we are wrong, convinces us of the correct way of living, restores us to the right path of life, improves our character and our position in Christ Jesus, and trains us through every means used to bring up a child. The Word teaches and trains us in how to live according to God’s way of thinking; His right way of doing things that are beneficial or advantageous to our character as a Christian. It is profitable to us; bringing us gain in our lives. God’s Word is His living voice recorded for all to see and as we read it and apply it to our lives we are changed!

The last part of verse 17 says the reason we need God’s word in our lives is because it brings us to completion and fully equips us for every good work. It gives us the equipment that we need to fulfill the plan that God has for our lives. God’s word gives us what we need to do the work that He has called us to do. It prepares us for life, not just for this moment, but for what lies ahead so we will be ready to meet His calling.

Have you had your next meal from God’s word yet? Why not jump in there and eat until your filled and satisfied?

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Father, I thank You for Your word. I thank You that it is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. Father, I thank You that it goes deep into our hearts and divides between our soul and our spirit; it divides and cuts out those motives and thoughts that do not line up with Your will and desire for us to live our lives. Thank You for it’s ability to pierce through the darkest thoughts in our minds. I pray, this morning, that we will all dig in and study Your word, taking it into our hearts and I ask that You would cause it to sink deep into our hearts and change us. Father, we need the words that You have breathed Your life into. We need the life that it brings to us to give us spiritual nourishment. Please speak to our hearts and help us overcome the inconsistencies in our lives. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer. I believe that I receive when I pray according to Your word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

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