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Freedom, Responsibility and Personal Liberties - In Jesus

We are free in Christ Jesus .. Free from sin and death .. Free from legalistic rule-keeping .. It Is By FAITH that we are "saved" ..

But, as believers, we are not free from responsibility, and part of that responsibility is to nurture those around us that God puts into our lives that are younger and weaker in their faith, even at the cost of our own personal liberty. Sometimes our actions are absorbed and immulated by others that we least suspect - I heard a story about an all-American football player for Mississippi State who went on to play for the Houston Oilers. One Saturday Mississippi State played, and defeated, the University of Houston, which was no small accomplishment. After the big game some alumni passed out cigars to the winning team, and one man stuck his cigar in his pocket. He did not smoke, so he just saved it .. The next day he was sitting on the front porch at his folk’s house, by himself. He felt in his pocket, and noticed the cigar, opened it, and put it in his mouth. He didn’t smoke .. but he said he sort of shifted it around in his mouth, and thought about that big win the day before.

A little while later a young boy walked up to the porch and said - “How ‘ya doin’?” .. “Come on up here and sit by me a minute.” And the boy climbed up to sit next to his big, football-playing neighbor and the boy began to talk, and he said in a few minutes, he noticed the boy had a stick in his mouth. Then he remembered the cigar in his... as they talked a little more he then reached up, took the cigar out of his mouth, broke it in half, threw it down, and said, “You know, I think I’ll quit smoking.”  .. The boy took the stick out of his mouth, broke it, threw it down and said, “Yeah. Me, too.” Our liberty in Christ extends only as far as it does not cause a brother or sister in Christ to stumble .. When it does, responsibility supersedes freedom.

This is most common in our world today .. in our "dress" .. "drinking" ... "smoking" ... "the movies we watch" ... and so many other things we do ..

We live in a pleasure-oriented culture that focuses on the present. God does not want us to sacrifice future blessings for short-term enjoyments. Let's take a look at Esau's story and learn from his mistakes. As Isaac’s elder son, Esau was facing a secure future in the role of spiritual leader and head of the family. Yet he was blind to what was valuable in life an casually sold his birthright - for a bowl of stew? ..  He apparently cared nothing about his rights as first born or his impact on future generations and gave it all up for a bowl of stew - think about it? Some of us are a bit short sighted. We spend much of our time working or engaging in pleasurable pursuits of our own own personal choosing. However, God wants our priorities to reflect His purposes, His Character — and to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind and to love others through a life of service and sacrifice (Matt. 22:37-40).

Esau was ruled by his appetite and emotions - and We Much The Same Today ... our thoughts are centered on the quickest way to satisfy our own needs .. get what we want .. often without thought or weighing the cost. Giving in to our feelings can be a first step toward trouble and regrets .. and all this is prompted by our emotions to act quickly or put ourselves first .. which can result in poor health, financial pressures, and even addictions. We can protect our future by yielding to the Spirit’s control and living out what Scripture considers most valuable: knowing God and obediently serving Him. Make sure that you put Him in charge of your mind, will, emotions, and appetites.

SO YOU .. LIKE ME .. ASK? HOW? .. Learning from Christ's Examples and "Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17). To wield the sword of the Spirit is to apply specific Biblical principles to specific situations. Jesus gave us the perfect example of skillful and precise use of the sword of the Spirit. Following His baptism, "Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, 'If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread'" (Matt. 4:1-3). Satan was challenging Christ's trust in His heavenly Father's power and provision. God had just announced that Jesus was His Son (Matt. 3:17). Would He now abandon Jesus to starve in the wilderness? Satan urged Jesus to take matters into His own hands and supply for His own needs. ( Satan does this exact same thing with us today ) .. After all, Satan implied, doesn't the Son of God deserve better than this? Jesus might have acted on His own authority or demanded that God give Him what He deserved. Instead, He demonstrated His trust in God and rebuked Satan for his evil intents: "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God'" (v. 4). That's a specific verse applied to a specific situation. Jesus responded the same way to Satan's other temptations (vv. 7, 10).  Scripture gives many general principles for Christian living, but the sword of the Spirit is a precise weapon. We must learn to apply the appropriate biblical principles to any given situation. That's what the psalmist meant when he wrote, "How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word. . . . Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee" (Ps. 119:9, 11).

Learning where to go in the Bible to defend ourself against sorrow, discouragement, apathy, lust, or pride - IS IMPORTANT! If not, you're attempting to do spiritual battle unarmed.

Suggestions for Prayer and Ways To learn How .. and the one thing that has helped me on numerous occasions is right here: http://www.iaskgod.com/content/thought-conditioner-gems

Are We Asking The Wrong Questions?

A better question would be, “Did God enjoy your worship?”

One of the major problems with our worship is that we evaluate it by asking the wrong question. “Did you enjoy worship?” we might ask someone who’s just attended a church service. But the point of worship is not that we enjoy it although certainly we should, but that God is pleased by it and honored through it.

A better question would be, “Did God enjoy your worship?” ... Or Maybe A better question would be, “Did you enjoy God's Mercy .. and celebrate it today?  .. Most of us have the idea when we worship in church that the preacher is the actor, God is the prompter telling him what to say, and the congregation is the audience ... But this is wrong. In worship, God is the audience, and the congregation is on stage. The preacher is simply a prompter, helping the people focus their attention on God. If worship is true and God-honoring, He is blessed by every hymn sung, every word proclaimed, every gift given, every testimony spoken and every secret thought shared with God from the depth of your heart. It is all about GOD ... and all for Him alone.

No one enjoys the feeling of brokenness, but we can’t ignore its benefits to spiritual growth. Being broken gives us an entirely new perspective on the Lord’s plan for our lives. You see, enjoying a steady, uninterrupted stream of blessings has an interesting effect on most people: It distorts our view of the Father, often leaving us to assume He exists for us.

We ask the Lord for ..  healing ... success .. financial security ... new desires .. homes .. cars ... We ASK GOD to bless our family and our relationships ... save our marriages .. we ASK .. and ASK ... and ASK .. and ask and ask.

And the truth is, much of the time we aren't really talking to God at all. In our mind, we've replaced Him with some sort of cosmic errand boy .. santa claus .. we tell God all about what we want and then send Him off to get it for us.

In all of this, who is actually at the center of our prayers? It certainly isn't Almighty God .. our Eternal Savior .. The Creator of the Uuniverse -- No, instead we find ourselves at the center of these prayers. Therefore, the end result is the subtle belief that God exists for our benefit, a far cry from the reality of His Holiness and Divinity.

This distortion breaks the Lord’s heart and leads us far away from truly knowing Him for who He is.

The antidote for this self-centered idolatry is brokenness. When God says “No,” when He takes away instead of adding more, when He divinely manages what we have, how much we have, and how long we have it, He is helping us keep our eyes on Him.

Do not despise these moments of adversity .. or aloneness .. the desperation of your condition .. TURN INSTEAD .. recognize them as the voice of your Father In Heaven .. through Jesus .. calling you back into His Son's open and loving arms.

Tired? .. Dealing with Fears, Despair, Discouragement ?

Dealing with Despair, Dealing with Fears in Your Life? .. some Discouraging Things? .. Situations? 

"Take the helmet of salvation" (Eph. 6:17)... Your helmet of salvation protects you from discouragement and despair.

We've all experienced and seen how Satan attacks believers .. and non-believers .. with his two-edged sword of doubt and discouragement. But he doesn't stop there. He tries to take you beyond discouragement to despair by robbing you of hope. Unless you're careful, his attacks will be successful ... especially when you're battle weary and tired. Remember the saying - "fatigue makes cowards of us all" .. and Satan knows how to grind us down ..

The prophet Elijah is an illustration of that truth. The highlight of his ministry came atop Mount Carmel, where he slew 450 prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:40). Yet immediately after that great victory, he fled for his life because Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him (1 Kings 19:1- 3). He ran from Mount Carmel into the wilderness of Beersheba, where he "sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, 'It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers'" (v. 4). He went on to moan, "I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, torn down Thine altars and killed Thy prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away" (v. 10).
Elijah lost hope because he failed to see his circumstances through the eyes of faith; he was attempting to fight the battle on his own. He allowed himself to become emotionally, physically, and spiritually spent, and became overwhelmed with self-pity. He felt utterly alone.

But God hadn't abandoned Elijah. He was still in control and His people were numerous (v. 18). But Elijah had, in effect, removed his helmet of salvation and received a near-fatal blow to his confidence in God's blessing on his life.
There may be times when, like Elijah, you lose your confidence and doubt God's faithfulness. At such times, putting on the helmet of salvation means taking your eyes off your circumstances and trusting in God's promises. You may not always sense His presence or understand what He's doing, but be assured He will never leave you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5) and His purposes will always be accomplished Rom. 8:28).

Suggestions for Prayer .. and further study: Read Isaiah 40:29-31 and Galatians 6:9.

Praise God for His unchanging character and irrevocable promises ... and take with you today this "gem" -  http://www.iaskgod.com/content/thought-conditioner-18

 

Do You Have Trouble Conquering Doubt - The Enemy Within?

Conquering Doubt - The Enemy Within Us All

"Take the helmet of salvation" (Eph. 6:17). .. The key to conquering doubt is to focus on the preserving power of God.

Doubt comes to Christians in many ways. After you've sinned, your conscience might hiss at you, saying, "Surely you're not a Christian. Why would God save you anyway? You don't deserve His mercy. You're not good enough. How presumptuous to think God could ever use you!" Such doubts are common among Christians who focus on their performance rather than God's power.

All too often we're quick to acknowledge God's power to save us but slow to understand His power to keep us.

To complicate matters, many Christians believe they can lose their salvation, so they live in constant fear of falling away from the faith. Still others have never learned what Scripture teaches about their security in Christ. They're so intent on pleasing God through their own efforts that they lose sight of grace and drift into a subtle works- righteousness mentality.

Your performance doesn't determine your standing in Christ; your standing in Christ determines your performance. Good works are the necessary result of salvation (Eph. 2:10) but they don't save you or keep you saved. That's God's work.

Jude said, "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy" (v. 24). "Able" in that verse translates a Greek word that speaks of power. "Keep" literally means "to secure in the midst of an attack." "Stumbling" refers to falling into sin. Together they say that God is powerful enough to prevent you from stumbling into sin and falling away from Him—no matter how intense Satan's attacks might be. He will continue to protect and cleanse you until the day you enter His glorious heaven perfected.

Sin is a serious issue and you should never take it lightly. But when you do sin, remember that as a believer you're immediately cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ (1 John 1:7). So always confess your sins and turn from them, but never doubt God's power or willingness to keep you saved. Trust in His grace, not in your ability to perform.

Suggestions for Prayer: Praise the Lord for continually cleansing your sin. Acknowledge the fact that Jesus died on Calvary's Cross for your sins .. and tell Jesus THANK YOU! 

What Time is It? .. How much time do you have?

What Time is It? .. How much time do you have left in life?

So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. PSALM 90:12

Is it noon .. evening .. late night .. in your life?

“One life to live, soon will be past. Only what’s done for God will last.”

Fame, power, popularity, riches and influence will be only a memory one day .. or somethings to rtemember at your old class reunion .. but the things we do for God and Christ will last forever.

With that in mind, we are to number, or measure our days, so that we can present to God a heart of wisdom and a life of meaning.

How long have you been away from The Lord our God? .. what about all those years that passed without peace and salvation and fullness?

But each one of us needs to measure our days. Do you number yours? If the average life expectancy is 80 years, is it noon in your life? Or 6:00 p.m., or 8:00 p.m.? Take note of the time, and remember that only what’s done for him will stand its test.

Seeking Wisdom for the Trials, Tribulations and Challenges of Life

Wisdom for the Trials, Tribulations and Challenges of Your Life

James 1:5-8 (NIRV) says: 5 If any of you need wisdom, ask God for it. He will give it to you. God gives freely to everyone. He doesn’t find fault. 6 But when you ask, you must believe. You must not doubt. People who doubt are like waves of the sea. The wind blows and tosses them around. 7 A man like that shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 He can’t make up his mind. He can never decide what to do.

At first glance, today’s passage on wisdom doesn't seem related to the subject of trials, tribulations, challenges, growth or personal development - but James is actually continuing His thoughts from the previous three verses. We need wisdom to know how to respond to suffering, circumstances of this life or the hand we are dealt. This means we should see trials from God’s viewpoint and understand His purposes in allowing them in our lives. If you want to profit from your struggles, be sustained in them, and come through with joy and victory, you must understand the following truths:

1. God’s in full control of the timing and intensity of your trial, and He won’t let it go beyond the boundaries He has set. Need Proof? .. see Job 1:6-12
2. He has a specific purpose for your suffering, which you may not understand until it is over.
3. This trial will be profitable if you submit to God and trust Him through it.
4. A trying situation .. a change in your way of life, unhappiness - is a chance for your faith to prove genuine and grow stronger.
5. When you endure extreme pressure with unexplainable peace and joy, the Lord will demonstrate His sustaining power to a watching world.
6. The Father will use your difficulties to produce Christ-like character.
7. God will walk with you through trials - look here: http://www.iaskgod.com/search/node/Jehovah%20Shammah
8. The Holy Spirit will enable you to survive this and to come out a conqueror.

If you believe these principles, they will shape how you respond to difficulties in your life.

This perspective eliminates the negative reactions normally felt and acknowledged by trials .. and makes supernatural responses possible. Instead of feeling miserable and hopeless, you’ll experience amazing peace and joy.

 

September 11 - a date to remember Who We Turned To For Answers


Jesus Christ: A Gift from the Father - Read | Matthew 7:11

UNLIKE THE "infamous" day here in America .. where terror reigned from the skys .. where some troubled terrorists thought they would find their way to god .. and 72 virgins .. TO WHOM DID MANY TURN TO?

We try to give presents that are meaningful but we aren't always successful. However, God’s gift, His Son Jesus—, always the right one for everybody.

Our Hevaen-Sent Gift -  Jesus was sent to earth from the heavenlies in order to fulfill God’s plan (John 6:38). Every aspect of His life—from His birth as a little baby to His death on the cross—was part of the Father’s gift to us.

Our Much-Needed Gift - God gave His Son to us because of our desperate need for rescue. Sin ruined the human race (Rom. 3:23) and placed us all under divine condemnation (5:18). Since we are unable to pay the price justly demanded by God for our sin, our greatest need has always been for a Savior who could pay our sin debt for us (6:23). Only Jesus qualified because He was without sin. He became our Redeemer, reconciling us to God (5:10).

Sacrificial. God sent Jesus to die in our place so that we might become part of His family. The Son deliberately sacrificed His life to accomplish the Father’s plan.

Perfect. Jesus was God in human flesh, walking among mankind. His character and will are flawless, and He works perfectly on our behalf (8:28-29).

Precious. Jesus Christ can do for us what no material thing or other person can. In Him, we become new creations belonging to God (2 Cor. 5:17).

God wrapped His special present to us in human flesh so we might know Him and identify with Him. How closely intertwined is Jesus’ life with yours .. and mine .. for all men no matter what their needs.

How Many Attacks on God's Character Have You Heard?

How Many Attacks on God's Character Have You Heard?

One of Satan’s most effective tactics ( and sometimes a very subtle attack ) ... is to challenge God’s credibility. Have you ever had a friend .. a son or daughter .. boyfriend or girlfriend .. wife or husband .. fellow hunter or co-worker .. say something like .. "You Don't Really believe That Old Bible Stuff DO YOU"?  ..  OR ..  That was written so long ago .. by so many different people .. HOW CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?

Paul's exhortation to "stand firm against the schemes of the devil" (Eph. 6:11) refers to the various tactics Satan employs in spiritual warfare. One of his tactics is to call God's character and motives into question by raising doubts about His Word.

Remember .. Where He Started All That Lying?  ..  He used that approach in the Garden of Eden, when he said to Eve, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" (Gen. 3:1). In one brief statement Satan disputed and distorted God's Word. God didn't forbid them to eat from any tree. They could eat freely from every tree except one: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (2:16-17) ... then what did he do? .. Satan followed his distortion with an outright denial of God's Word: "You surely shall not die!" (3:4). He implied that God lied when He said that sin will result in death. Satan then went on to tell Eve that if she ate the fruit, she would in fact become like God Himself (v. 5). The implication is that God was withholding something good from Eve, and to keep her from seeking it, He intimidated her with empty threats of death and judgment.

Do you see the insidious nature of Satan's approach? Tragically, Eve didn't. Rather than trusting and obeying God, she believed Satan's lies and concluded that the tree was good for food, a delight to the eyes, and desirable to make one wise. Then "she took from its fruit and ate" (v. 6). Satan deceives and spreads his lies from generation to generation (2 Cor. 11:14). Although he is subtle, his attempts to discredit God by disputing, distorting, and denying His Word should be obvious to discerning Christians.

Don't be victimized by Satan's attacks. Become strong in the Word of God .. through systematic Bible study .. listening to preaching and teachings from God's Word through radio and broadcasts .. Yield to the Spirit's control through prayer and obedience to biblical principles .. Learn More .. Find More .. at: http://www.iaskgod.com/content/online-resources

Suggestions for Prayer
• Ask God for the discernment to recognize Satanic deceptions in your own life. .. and the wisdom to find and pursue God's truth.
• Pray for God's enabling of yourself .. as you discipline yourself for Bible study .. starting back to Church .. listening to His Word on radio or TV?

 

Strength and Power - The Parts of Prayer

Ephesians 3:14-21 (NIRV)

Paul Prays for God’s People

14 I bow in prayer to the Father because of my work among you. 15 From the Father his whole family in heaven and on earth gets its name.

16 I pray that he will use his glorious riches to make you strong. May his Holy Spirit give you his power deep down inside you. 17 Then Christ will live in your hearts because you believe in him.

And I pray that your love will have deep roots. I pray that it will have a strong foundation. 18 May you have power with all God’s people to understand Christ’s love. May you know how wide and long and high and deep it is. 19 And may you know his love, even though it can’t be known completely. Then you will be filled with everything God has for you.

20 God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. He does everything by his power that is working in us. 21 Give him glory in the church and in Christ Jesus. Give him glory through all time and for ever and ever. Amen.

Are You Needing The Strength to Stand?

We know who our enemy is, and we may even be dressed for battle (Eph. 6:11). But we don’t feel ready. Our weaknesses seem large and our strength small.

To stand firm in this life, we need the power of our living Lord operating within us. To have God’s divine power released in us requires serious, sustained prayer (v. 18). When we communicate with the Father, His Holy Spirit will give us discernment so that we can recognize truths about spiritual warfare and gain insight into the adversary’s tactics (1 Cor. 2:14). Starting each morning with the Lord lets Him strengthen us to stand steadfastly for Christ, no matter what is in store for us that day.

Prayer is an essential element in our protection against the devil. If we are prayerless—that is, if we fail to seek God’s guidance and neglect to put on His armor by faith every day—then we will be defeated. Our understanding and vision apart from the Lord are too limited and the enemy is too powerful for us to stand alone. However, Romans 8:37 tells us that with God, we will be more than conquerors. He will make us ready if we draw close to Him through prayer, listen to His instructions, and follow through with obedience.

The enemy despises prayers that are offered through faith in Jesus Christ, because he has no defense against them. Persevering prayer strengthens you. It also crushes Satan’s might and sends him running (James 4:7). Drop to your knees in prayer to the Lord and watch what happens.

 

God’s Principles - The One about Reaping and Sowing

God’s Principles are not only true and without error, but very practical for daily living   - The One about Reaping and Sowing

Proverbs 12:14 make a simple .. yet profound statement - Many good things come from what a man says. And the work of his hands rewards him.

Galatians 6:7-10 (NIRV) says this:  7 Don’t be fooled. You can’t outsmart God. A man gathers a crop from what he plants. 8 Some people plant to please their sinful nature. From that nature they will harvest death. Others plant to please the Holy Spirit. From the Spirit they will harvest eternal life. 9 Let us not become tired of doing good. At the right time we will gather a crop if we don’t give up. 10 So when we can do good to everyone, let us do it. Let us make a special point of doing good to those who belong to the family of believers.

This passage contains an important scriptural truth: Our positive actions will ultimately benefit us, whereas our negative deeds will eventually bring harmful repercussions. This principle goes hand in hand with the "Golden Rule" - we are to treat others the way we want to be treated. The Lord calls us to be kind and respectful toward other people, even when they aren't easy to love. Admittedly, this can be difficult when an individual wrongs us continually. But if we give in to our flesh and retaliate, we are sowing seeds of corruption, and in due time, we will reap accordingly.

On the other hand, treating someone well, even after he has been unkind - will profit us. According to Scripture, we are “sowing to the Spirit” and will reap rewards. Some benefits may be supernatural and unknown to us at the time. Yet we know that obedience in this situation will facilitate forgiveness, build character, and develop endurance. No matter what the other person does, we always win when we walk in obedience with the Lord.

Think of all our relationship challenges - our Muslim friends and neighbors, the local Rescue Mission, or U-turn for Christ or similiar ministry where we can have a chance to witness and share God’s love in action with others. With Jesus' help .. we can sow seeds of love, joy, and peace that will yield a rich harvest for our own lives .. as well as for the other people with whom we share.

The Principle of Sowing and Reaping from Dr, Charles Stanley is well worth reading .. and worth even more if put into practice in daily living. Dr. Stanley calls it
Life Principle #6 .. "You reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow" .

Judges 2:1–4 - Today is the father of tomorrow.

What we are today is the result of what we have been thinking and the way we have lived in the past. Those who act wisely today will have wisdom in the future to make wise decisions. The same is true when we come to the subject of finances. Those who save wisely today will have plenty tomorrow. Those who spend everything they have today will have little or nothing in the future. It is a shortsighted person who thinks only of the now, doing as little as possible, for on payday he will have no way to avoid the poor quality and small quantity of his rewards. The nation of Israel had to learn this in a very personal way. Their waywardness and failure to do what God instructed them to do often placed them in a position where they would not have His blessings.

The Lord gives principles in Scripture to serve as warnings and as an encouragement. His Word states, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7). This is an unalterable law that affects everyone in every area of life, family, work, and pleasure.

Every farmer understands the meaning of this principle: We reap what we sow, more than we sow, and later than we sow. Let’s look at each part of the principle to make sure we understand its full implications.

1. The principle applies to everyone, both Christians and non-Christians.- Muslims and Aetheists, Mormons and Catholics ..

This principle is irrevocable; there is no escape, either for the believer or for the unbeliever. It is a law of life.

Did you notice how Galatians 6:7 begins? It says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked.” Herein lies the root cause of the careless and indulgent lifestyle of many people. They are deceived. They either do not believe the truth, or they think they will somehow be the exceptions to God’s laws.

To mock God is to turn up one’s nose at Him, to hope to outwit Him—a foolish thought, as 2 Corinthians 5:10 reveals: “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

If you were required to appear before the judgment seat of Christ in the next five minutes, what kind of crops would you have to show?

The Principle of Sowing and Reaping

2. We reap what we sow.

The fact that we reap what we sow is good news for those who sow good habits, but a frightening thought for those currently involved in ungodly activities such as promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse, neglect of family, or mistreatment of others in order to climb the ladder of success. We cannot sow crabgrass and expect to reap pineapples. We cannot sow disobedience to God and expect to reap His blessing. What we sow, we reap. Let us not deceive ourselves: We will reap the harvest of our lives.

3. We reap more than we sow.

Why do farmers plant their seed? Because they expect to harvest a great deal more than they sow. A single seed that sprouts can yield dozens, scores, even hundreds of seeds. It is the same way with both sin and righteousness—a small decision to do either good or bad reaps a much bigger crop, for either joy or sorrow.

Jesus used the picture of a sprouting seed to show that when we allow God’s Word to produce good things in us, the results multiply: “The one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty” (Matt. 13:23). On the other side of the ledger, the prophet Hosea describes what awaits those who choose to sow seeds of wickedness: “They sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind” (Hos. 8:7).

4. We reap later than we sow.

Some are deceived because their present seed does not appear to be producing an immediate crop. So they continue down their course, mistakenly believing that there will never be a harvest. But unlike the crops of the field, which get harvested at approximately the same time each year, there is no regular timetable for the harvest of life. Some crops we reap quickly; others take a long time. But do not be deceived—their season will come. And by going the second mile now and giving more than is required, we will reap rich dividends later.

“For whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” What a comforting and assuring thought to those who faithfully labor under difficult circumstances. Faithfulness in such situations will produce a rich harvest in the future, for our heavenly Father always keeps His promises.

Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.

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