Sunday, February 24, 2013

Dead Seed

Dead Seed
Feb 25, 2014
1 Cor 15:36  "How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies."

Most of us are not agricultural experts but we all understand that you cannot grow corn unless you plant the correct seed into the ground.  You cannot grow wheat unless you plant a wheat seed.  In fact, if you want to grow anything at all you must always plant the correct seed.  The seed is lost into the ground and that seed is never returned.  It will, however, produce a harvest of the intended crop.  The seed doesn't just return more seeds, the seed returns the intended harvest.  But, again, you cannot grow a harvest unless that seed is lost into the ground, with the knowledge that you will NEVER see that seed again.  The seed must give its life in order to produce.  The seed must die.

In the Bible, this concept of the seed dying in the ground is a spiritual principle we are encouraged to grasp and understand, even apply in our daily lives.   The full Scripture is this: "How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.   When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body."

We all have intended harvests we would like to see materialized.  Maybe they are spiritual, emotional, relational, or physical.  Scripture would say that we must plant the right seed in order to obtain that harvest.  It is not enough to just plant the seed, though, we must let the seed die into the ground.  We must have the mindset that we will never see that seed again; it is forever lost.  We cannot hold onto the seed and still expect a harvest; we must risk losing it forever.  If you are planting the seed, hoping it won't die, then you will never have a harvest.  As humans, we get emotionally attached to our seed, hoping that it won't die.  We aren't willing to let it go.  But the Lord would say that it is time to let the seed go, die forever, never to be seen again.  This is the most difficult thing in obtaining any type of harvest.  You must let the seed go.  This can make seed very costly.

Not only is seed costly, but you cannot control it once it is gone.  The seed is in the hands of the Maker.  It is up to the Lord to produce the harvest, if any at all.  The Lord will determine when and if there will be a harvest; the discretion is up to Him.  Your job is only to plant the seed and be willing to let it die.  You and I have probably missed many harvests in our lives because we were not willing to let the seed die.  We have held onto the seed too tightly, not willing to let it go.  The Lord would say to let it go.  Let the seed die and trust in the Lord's almighty wisdom to raise the harvest up, when and as He chooses.

If you have a dream of a future harvest, you must be willing to let the seed die, let it go completely into the ground, holding onto nothing but the hand of the Heavenly Father.  The harvest will not come, cannot come, unless the seed dies.  Risk the seed today; it will be worth it.  But let it go completely.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Psalm 126:5-6, Hosea 10:12, 2 Cor 9:6-10, Gal 6:7-8

Sunday, February 17, 2013

New Again

New Again
Feb 18, 2013
2 Cor 4:16  "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."
When something is new, it may be described as fresh, clean, shiny, even different from the old.  If you have come to Christ, at that point you became a new creation.  You were fresh, clean, shiny, different from the old.  While you probably didn't look any different, the Lord transformed your insides; He made you new.  But if something becomes tarnished over time, how can it be made new again?  After all, something can only be new once.  You were a new Christian at one point, can you be a new Christian again?  The Lord would say that something, even you, can be RE-newed.  Meaning, it can be brought back to that state of new-ness, the point of being fresh, clean, and shiny again.

In the Old Testament, you'll read that the Jewish people were constantly falling short of living how the Lord intended for them.  But there are many instances when the leaders "renewed" their covenant with the Lord, reaffirming their intent to live the way He expected.  That opportunity is available for you and me today.  Though you may not have fallen away from the Lord, you may have lost your new-ness, the point when you were fresh, clean, and shining with excitement to live for the Lord.  You can be made new again, even still, after following the Lord your whole life.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the early believers, in several different letters to several different churches, about being made new again.  He was writing to them as believers, meaning they had already given their lives to Christ; they had all become the initial new creation on the inside.  But for some reason they were falling short of what they knew the Lord expected of them; they had become slightly tarnished by the world, losing their clean excitement for Him.  They were discouraged but Paul wrote to them and encouraged them that their Christianity was and is a renewal process taking place daily.  It wasn't a one time deal; it isn't once new never new again.  He said that we can and should be renewed EVERY day.

Paul even went so far as to say the only thing that matters is the new creation in our lives, not the past actions.  It doesn't matter what we did or did not do; it only matters that we are a new creation.  When he wrote that, he even emphasized in his writing that he was using large font letters, bolded in print to get the point across.  It was as if he was typing in all capital letters, yelling it out.   He wanted them to understand that being made new was important and critical; the ONLY thing important.  This is still true in our lives today.  We may be hung up on our past successes and failures but the only thing important in our lives is the renewal of the Lord in our lives on a daily basis.  This isn't getting saved once every day.  This is deciding that each day is going to be a new day in the Lord, allowing Him to work in our lives constantly changing us, constantly molding us into the Christians that He needs us to be for Him.

You cannot be a successful Christian living as the old creation you were yesterday, even if it was good.  You must continually be remade anew.  Re-affirm your dedication to Him and allow Him to make you new even today.  You look so good when you are fresh and clean for Him, shining with excitement to live for the Lord.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: 2 Kings 23:3, Ps 51:10, Lam 5:21, Rom 12:2, Gal 6:11-18, 2 Cor 5:16-18, Col 3:10, Titus 3:5

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Defend the Harvest

Defend the Harvest
Feb 11, 2013
2 Samuel 23:11  ". . . But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field."

King David was a renown warrior in the Old Testament.  Yes, he was a great king, but he was a very effective military leader.  He couldn't do it alone, however, as leading many fighting men required commanders to assist him.  David had some brave and courageous commanders.  They were called "Mighty Warriors."  One such man was Shammah.  Little is known about Shammah except for a few verses in the Bible that describe his exploits.  They read, "When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel’s troops fled from them.  But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory."

There are a few interesting things we can glean from this short story of Shammah's adventures in the field.   The Philistines were attacking the specific location for a reason.  It was a food source.  The field was full of lentils (peas).  It didn't say it was a lentil field. It said it was a field full of lentils, meaning it was ready for harvest.  All the hard work had been done and the only thing left to do was receive the bountiful harvest.  The enemy knew if they could cut off the food source, they could further destroy the Lord's Children.  The pea field was the target.  Shammah knew this and he understood the importance of defending the harvest.  He led his troops to the field in response to the attack but his troops fled in fear.  They abandoned him.  He was left alone.  Thankfully Shammah had courage enough to stand and fight for the harvest.

The Bible says he took his stand in the middle of it all.  Notice he positioned himself in the center of the harvest and refused to give up.  By positioning himself alone in the center it suggested he was aware he would probably die there defending the field by himself.  But he was determined to not go down without a fight.  He was willing to die, surrounded by the enemy army, for a worthy cause, as the odds were clearly against him.  It seems as though he was a brave but foolish man.  Thankfully, Shammah WAS a brave but foolish man.  Had he not been willing to stand and fight for the harvest, against all odds, the Lord would not have granted him the great victory.  There is no victory without a fight.

The enemy wants to destroy your harvest but you must stand and fight.  Position yourself in the middle and take your stand.  Stand firm in defense of what the Lord has already given you, your harvest, not willing to go down without a fight.  It may be you alone in that field while everyone else has abandoned you, but you must stand in the middle and fight.  When the enemy surrounds you it is not time to panic or run in terror.  It is time to take a stand, no matter what the odds, and defend the harvest.  Your harvest is ready but the enemy wishes to destroy it.  While the Lord is in charge of the great victory, it is still your job to stand in the middle and defend your harvest.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: 2 Sam 23:8-17, John 4:35, 1 Peter 5:7-9

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Feb 4, 2013
2 Cor 6:8-10  "We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing..."

Rejoice. It is easy to say or read the word "rejoice" but it is hard to understand in today's language.  Rejoicing was something Biblical characters understood, even lived out in their daily lives, but it gets lost on us today.  We equate rejoicing with being happy, but they are not the same.  Rejoicing is an action whereas happiness is a state of being or state of contentment.  Very few of us rejoice.  Imagine your favorite sports team scoring the winning goal after an intense game.  Your arms raise in the air, you stand to your feet, and shout with excitement.  That is rejoicing.  Or imagine someone showing up to your front door with a very large amount of cash, maybe two years' salary.  You would jump up and down with excitement.  That is rejoicing.  It is a physical and outward manifestation of an inward response to something.

If you look back through the Bible, the Old Testament is full of rejoicing, physical demonstrations of joy.  The Children of the Lord were instructed to rejoice, to outwardly demonstrate in response to what the Lord had done in their lives.  The Lord even told them to hold festivals and celebrations, being sure to rejoice for the reason of the occasion.  However, the modern day church fails to continue these practices; it fails at being glad for what the Lord has done in the past and in the present.  It fails at getting excited about the future.  There is limited outward manifestations of rejoicing in our lives today.  While some of it is a cultural issue (reserved or inhibited societal trends), some of it is a permission issue.  We don't feel we have permission or reason to rejoice.  We think that if there are negative circumstances in our lives, then we have no reason to rejoice.  This could not be further from the truth.

The Lord has done wonderful things in your life, in the past and in the present, despite the presence of a few dark rain clouds.  The Lord has saved your soul from the pit of Hell, the Lord has brought you out of past dreadful situations, the Lord has kept you from falling into harm many times over.  Yet, you fail to rejoice.  We all fail to rejoice.  The Lord would say that no matter what, we have a reason to rejoice, knowing we have a full reward in Heaven someday for what we are experiencing right now.  But even still, in the present there are things to rejoice over.  This isn't just being thankful, it is rejoicing over the good things that you DO have in your life, a physical demonstration or expression of joy overflowing from your heart.

It is not just a recommendation but a directive to rejoice.  You have it in you; it is welling up inside of you even now.  Only don't suppress it or squelch it.  It is appropriate to show you are glad for the things the Lord has done for you.  Don't feel guilty about letting it out.  Don't let someone else's dismay keep you from showing that you are excited.  The Lord has done great things in your life and you need to let it out; others need to know about it.  Declare what the Lord has done for you by rejoicing.  It brings glory and honor to Him who sits on the throne of your life.  Raise your arms in excitment.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:   Deut 27:7, 1 Kings 1:40, 1 Chron 15:25, 2 Chron 30:21, Ps 19:5, Ps 30:5, Ps 105:43, Jer 30:19, Acts 5:41, Gal 4:27, Phil 4:4-9, 1 Thes 5:16, 1 Peter 1:8