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"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil


FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Seed & The Soil (Part 2)

Harvest: (n) the season when ripened crops are gathered. (v) to gather (a crop or the like); reap. 




"And the farmer said to the potato; 'plant ya now, dig ya later'."

Gateway to the Farm


"If you are too lazy too plow in the right season, you will have no food at the harvest."
-Proverbs 20:4


Yesterday as I finished part one of The Seed and The Soil I left with the reader a couple of questions that were on my mind. As I spent the day reflecting my main purpose was to evaluate, identify and acknowledge the areas of my life where I'm experiencing less than God's strength and power; the areas where my path is taking me across rocky, thorny and hardened terrain. I also wanted to acknowledge the area(s) where I'm on good soil and experiencing a bountiful harvest.

In both cases I wanted to know why I'm experiencing what I'm experiencing.

After a day's worth of reflection and some time in prayer I believe God gave me the answer.

It was during my time watering the grass and flowers early this morning that it became as clear to me as a cloudless day at the beach; the kind of clarity that enables a beach-goer to see where the water meets the sky.

Life at its best is like a clear day at the beach...
...we see everything


It was obedience.

Obedience to God's precepts and will for my life.

Obedience to Him is the key to all of the success and joy I experience in my life and disobedience is the key that unlocks all of the failure, misery and pain in my life.
 
Are there times in all of our lives that we will experience pain, trial and tribulation while being obedient? You bet. But many times we are our worst enemy, and when we review whatever troubles we find ourselves in financially, relationally, professionally, personally, physically, emotionally and spiritually it is because there was some form of disobedience on our part.
 
For the believer disobedience separates us from having fellowship with God because we know that disobedience is always viewed as sin in God's eyes. Disobedience doesn't eliminate our eternal salvation, but it does separate us from God's blessing and power in our lives. As I have it heard many times: choose to sin; choose to suffer.
 
Disobedience robs us of our peace and our peace is everything.

And if disobedience steals 'our' peace then obedience is what grants us God's favor in 'our' lives.

Obedience is the key.



This past Sunday Pastor Ken shared with us an insightful question his 14 year old son Jackson (a freshman in high school) ask while on their family vacation. Jackson asks his dad... "Why do you think our church has grown so much in the last year?"

What a question for a young man to ask his Dad. I have tears in my eyes when I think about the direction this young man is going. To see a child maturing into a young man that has a mind that displays discernment and has such quality of thought is a beautiful thing.

A beautiful thing indeed.

And as beautiful as Jackson's question was his father's reply was just as beautiful, and truthful. Pastor Ken stated as he replied to his son; "It is the Gracious Favor of God and the working behind the scenes and under the surface for a long time that has caused the growth of Cypress."

And everyone said... Amen.

Again, obedience is the key; obedient to His Will, His Way and His Word.

Amen.

When one reflects on Ken's reply we realize that God will always do His part, but it is incumbent upon us, His children, to do our part. My mother has said more than a few times; "I can't help someone that isn't willing to help themselves."

We all have a part to play. 

A vital one.

When we "dig" a little deeper we realize that based on Ken's thoughts this past Sunday and God's word that one should always look beneath the soil to gain understanding and wisdom. We need to dig deeper. Beneath the soil we can observe what usually happens behind the scenes that facilitate growth and the "fruit" in our lives.

Charles Stanley always says; "You reap what you so, more than you sow; later than you sow."

We will always reap a harvest that is in direct proportion to what we sow.

It is a fact of life that is true in every facet of our life.

The principle is undeniable... and true.

The Harvest 1882

Below let me share three observations from Pastor Ken that are ever present beneath the soil.


1. The Sower gives what he has & models who he is.

Yesterday we discussed the receiver and the four types of soil in Matthew 13:3..."Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed." But before we can identify with the soil we have to have seed. The key here is that if you don't possess the seed, it is difficult and impossible to sow it into the lives of others. When you think about it I can't teach Japanese to anyone because I don't speak, or understand, Japanese. I don't know Japanese. A parent can't teach the Gospel and share God's tender mercy and His saving grace with their children if they don't know and have a personal relationship with God themselves. The principle in all aspects of living to God's plan begins with me, with you, experiencing it before I, we, can pass it on. Again, I can't give, you can't give, what I, you, don't have. Finally, many of you've heard the saying; "you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time." At the end of the day, we model who we are. In our comings and goings and are so called meaningless interactions with others we display who we truly are. When we close the garage door and spend time privately with our family is who we truly are. When we entertain thoughts in private and conduct ourselves in certain ways when no one is looking is who we truly are.

Reflect.

Truly, who are you?

If you can't answer that question right now you can before the day is over. You can answer it in the next two minutes.

Accept Christ into your heart and life.

Do it right now.

The greatest aspect of being a believer and a follower of Christ is that shows us that WE, THAT YOU, THAT I, CAN CHANGE.

2 Corinthians 5:17 states: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come."

Want change; get Christ.

Want a seed to sow; a seed that sows goodness in the life of you, your family and friends... Get Christ.

Want to know who you are, what you believe in and what your purpose is while living here on this earth... then get Christ. John 14:6 shares with us Jesus' belief and truth; "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

He is the way. 

He is the truth. 

He is life; life at its fullest. 

And He is waiting for you.

Ask yourself two questions today:
  • Are you satisfied with the seed you carry and spread?
  • How are you known?

2. Big things often start small as in a seed or an idea.

In the late 1800's a guy by the name of Henry Ford had an idea. He wanted to improve transportation. From that seed of desire to change the status quo in transportation he developed the vision for an automobile. On October 1,1908 the Model T was unveiled. 

Henry Ford was only 45.

Henry Ford (1888 - 25 yrs old)

Every great invention starts as a small idea, a very small seed, that when watered with determination and desire and planted with vision and focus, then, and only then, can it, will it, grow and blossom into something wonderful for all to see and something that can make a difference in others lives. If you are a parent think about what you just read. We as parents all have that small seed that needs to watered with all the same ingredients that Ford used to build his dream car. And though his invention changed the way we travel today the responsibility we entertain with our children is far more important. It is far greater.

Remember, whether you have a seed of faith or seed of bitterness within you it only has one option and that option is to grow. It may lay dormant for days, weeks, months or even years, but eventually it will spring into life for everyone to see. What is inside of you will always come out. Always. And our family and children are the first to see it.

But with everything I just said there is hope.

Don't give up, don't ever give up.

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
-Matthew 17:20 

A mustard seed of faith is all we need to change our circumstance, situation and our lives.

A mustard seed.

Now that is some serious hope. 


3. Comparison and uniqueness of planting vs. scattering.

When one observes someone scattering something they soon realize that much is "throw" out there with the hope something, or someone, catches it. This scattering is often done with little thought and preparation. I often have parented this way. And I can tell you it doesn't work. When we scatter we lack purpose and this truth is no different than the parable of the seed being thrown on the four different soils.

When we move beyond scattering and into planting we immediately become more strategic, more intentional; more purposeful.

Proverbs 31: 16-18 states: "She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for the tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night."  Do you think the women that Solomon was talking about knew that she would be in God's word for millions upon millions to read about until the end of time?

You reap what you sow, more than you sow; later than you sow

Sometimes the greater the sow the greater and long lasting the harvest is that often times is beyond our scope of time to see the true impact of the initial sowing. 

Please read that again.

So very, very true.

Remember, when you plant you become more intentional and focused, and when we plant we should always do it with the anticipation of what will happen down the road.

A harvest.

In closing, a very good friend of mine named Jen sent me a message on facebook yesterday; "Your blog keeps getting better with every update. Love it and good job!" she said. As I reread those "13" words tears began to stream down my face. Jen has been a great friend for some time and truly knew me, saw me, at my lowest point. She saw the dysfunction of promiscuity, an irresponsible lifestyle and over all waywardness in my life. My language was bad and my attitude was even worse; my behavior was poor and my faith was anemic. 

I was lost. 

And it was with those "13" words Jen encouraged me, encouraged me to continue what I do; write. She reminded me that what I do when I write is what God wants me to do. When I'm writing I'm truly in the center of His will for my life. And with those "13" words Jen shared with me she directly, and indirectly, acknowledged the fact that she sees the transformation that has occurred in my life. Have I failed? Yes. I failed yesterday and I failed miserably last week. But God still remains faithful and He has a work He wants to do in, through and for me. In Psalms 69 David shares with the reader the many misgivings, failures and fears he has only to state in verse 13: "But I keep right on praying to you, Lord, HOPING THIS IS THE TIME YOU WILL SHOW ME FAVOR."

Thank you Jen for your encouraging words... I love you.

And thank you GOD FOR NOT GIVING UP ON ME AND blessing me a bountiful harvest in so many different areas of my life, and reassuring me with your word and wisdom that in the areas of my life that are being robbed of your fullest potential for me, because of my disobedience, that you will remain patient with me and faithful to me.

No words can express the gratitude I feel as I type these words knowing that you, God, and you alone, are for me and not against me in every area, every nook and cranny and every facet of my life.

Thank you again for your patience and faithfulness you have shown me.

Thank you.

And please bless the seed that is your word and your good news in my life; please bless my soil so it can grow something beautiful.

"Lord help me become all you want me to be and to remember it always begins small and grows from there."

And everyone said... Amen.



sbb 20.7.11
2291



1 comment:

countingmyblessings said...

Thank you Shawn for directing your readers to Counting My Blessings! You have blessed me with your encouragement! Deb