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Archive for the ‘SOWING AND GROWING’ Category


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And Jesus said to him, “No man having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:62

– Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul – seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?  Fill your horn with oil, and go.” – 1 Samuel 16:1

The Sower” is a painting by van Gogh.  It shows a stark country setting.  A simple farmhouse sits far off in the background.  The foreground shows a young man walking across a dirt field with a seed bag slung over his shoulder – the sun blazing above.  His gaze is fixed ahead as he scatters seeds behind – unaware a few birds have gathered there; already eating some of them.  It is a good illustration of the lead verse.

A bad illustration is sitting in the same Sunday seats week after week, year after year.  Doing so develops a complacent Christian life not in accordance with God’s Word.  The more we feel at home here in our body – including that of a church – the more we’re absent from the Lord.  We don’t want to be found naked at the end because we clothed ourselves in the comfort of any physical church (2 Corinthians 5:1-6).

This is not God’s idea of spiritual farming.  Failing to move when God commands is stubbornness.  When He told Noah to build the ark – Noah moved with fear (Hebrews 11:7).  He didn’t tell God it wasn’t a good time.  Stubbornness is a sin (1 Samuel 15:23).  It is a refusal to move in accordance with the Word, because one is still conformed to the world (Romans 12:1-2). It is remaining in a state of disobedient unbelief.

We don’t see people chosen by God to follow Him (John 15:16) like Moses, David, and Paul attending weekly Sunday church services or mid-week Bible studies.  Then, wandering about in the world outside of those times, wondering what God wanted them to do.  Jesus did not hang on a Cross for us to hang around in an idle haze, confused at any time about what God wants us to do (1 Corinthians 14:33).

There are many reasons why we have to be on the move much of the time.  One reason is God always has something for us to do – as long as He is the One leading us by the Spirit (Romans 8:1).  We cannot make things up in our minds as some accused Moses of doing (Numbers 16:28).  God warns us of having false dreams or lying divinations; misled by them – or misleading others (Jeremiah 23:32, Ezekiel 13:6-7).

While Samuel mourned over God’s rejection of Saul as Israel’s king – Samuel was going to be of no use to Him sitting in the same place too long (second lead verse).  There was a new king to go find and anoint. Still, Samuel didn’t wander off without a clue, hoping he would happen upon the right person.  God had set directions and instructions for Samuel, as is always the case with us (1 Samuel 16:1-13, Proverbs 5:23).

Another reason we have to keep moving is because we are all being pursued by the devil.  Satan is a spiritual predator who does not sleep.  He always knows where we are and who we are (Job 1:6-11, Acts 19:15) – roaring about like a lion seeking whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8-9).  It’s easier for physical predators to attack and kill sick, weak, or stationary targets.  It’s easier for Satan to do the same.

God designed our bodies – physical and spiritual – to move.  A third reason for both to be in movement is it promotes health and healing.  As Christians, we are not our own anymore.  We have been bought with a price, and we are to glorify God in our body and our spirit; which are His (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  Lack of use with either leads to atrophy; a gradual decline in vigor or effectiveness due to underuse or neglect.

Any person in such a state often wants or requires others to do things for them physically or spiritually. In the book of John, a man with an infirmity (physical weakness) had sat by the pool at Bethesda – for 38 years.  Many other impotent people were also there. An angel would enter the pool in a certain season and stir it up.  After this troubling of the waters, the first person in after would be made whole (John 5:2-5).

When Jesus saw this man – He knew the man had been infirm a long time.  Christ asked, “Do you want to be made well?”  The man replied, “Sir, I have no man to put me in the pool when the water is troubled. But, while I am coming, another steps down before me.”  Jesus said, “Rise, take your bed and walk.”  The man did and was immediately healed (John 5:6-8). Christ never touched him.  Jesus simply said “Move.”

Movement prevents us from having too much idle time on our hands.  Idle time leads to idle words we will all give account of on judgement day (Matthew 12:36).  It also creates idol walks and talks, and worldly conversations we are not to have (Exodus 23:13, 2 Corinthians 1:12).  In addition to other sins like pride, an abundance of idleness led to God’s fiery destruction of Sodom (Ezekiel 16:49, Genesis 19:24).

Movement does not mean staying busy all the time. When the Pharaoh oppressed Israel, he wanted them to be so busy making bricks, they wouldn’t have time to make sacrifices for God.  This is too busy (Exodus 5:6-8).  We have to stop from time to time to clearly hear God’s still, small voice – to get new instructions as Elijah did (1 Kings 19:11-15).  However, once we do – we move with fear and without delay like Noah.

Staying in one place too long leads to familiarity. Familiarity tends to breed contemptuous, complacent, careless, and/or lukewarm spirits.  Such ungodly attributes arise from getting too accustomed to something or someone.  Relaxed Christians are the end result (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8).  Even in their churches where Satan could be sitting, or preaching from the pulpit (Revelation 2:13, Ephesians 6:12).

If we move ahead and don’t look back in accordance with God’s Word (lead verse), in humble obedience to His commands unto death (Philippians 2:8) – we’re doing His will.  God’s charge in Matthew 24:14 can’t be fulfilled any other way.  If we sit still in one place too long, the sin of stubbornness is sure to stagnate our spiritual growth.  This gives place to Satan and plenty of room to devour us (Ephesians 4:27).

Much like the style of van Gogh’s “The Sower” – we’re to sling a spiritual seed bag over our shoulder and set out across the farmlands of faith.  Sowing the Word of God as our seed as He leads us by the Spirit (Mark 4:14, Luke 8:11).  Not looking back over our shoulder to see if they are landing on stony ground – or if the devil is there to take them away, or we’re not fit for God’s kingdom of heaven (Mark 4:15-16, lead verse).

This keeps us from sowing the same spiritual fields over and over.  When farmers of God’s physical fields do this year after year, the dirt becomes stressed and unfruitful.  The same goes for the spiritual soil of our hearts.  Instead, we scatter a handful of seeds on the ground and move on ahead.  God will send another person along to water it – but He alone will be the One to provide the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6).

Only God decides what any physical or spiritual seed will ever become, giving each one its own body as it pleases Him (1 Corinthians 15:37-38).  We can’t grow seeds planted in human hearts into producing spiritual fruits God commands them to become in ourselves or any other person (Galatians 5:22-23).  If we try to, we only defile His crop (Deuteronomy 22:9).  This doesn’t move anyone closer to heaven, does it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture )

– There is one who scatters, yet increases more.  And there is one who withholds more than is right – but it leads to poverty. – Proverbs 11:24

This world’s economy is one which generally tells us we have to gain things in life before we’re able to give.  Or, the purpose of gathering goods is so we can hoard them as protection against uncertain future times; such as the end days some believe are fast approaching.  Both ways are to our own hurt – and do not honor God (Ecclesiastes 5:13, James 5:3, Deuteronomy 26:10).

The Word’s economy tells us we are to cheerfully give as purposed in our hearts – not out of necessity or grudgingly – scattering before we can gain (lead verse, 2 Corinthians 9:7). This is not restricted to money.  One of the best gifts we can give someone else is time.  Just talking to them or taking them somewhere, going the extra mile without being asked to (Matthew 5:41).

The profit of this earth is for all (Ecclesiastes 5:9).  We are to be wary in keeping our conversations away from covetousness – and to be content with such things as we have; wherever we are (Hebrews 13:5, Philippians 4:11).  This does include money. We are to be content with our wages and not spend our brief time on earth trying to exact more than what God has already appointed us (Luke 3:13-14, James 4:14).

We shall not want (Psalm 23:1).  Our Father knows our needs before we do (Matthew 6:8).  Every good and perfect gift comes down to us from the Father of lights (James 1:17).  Riches obtained without right – and withholding more than we know is right … is not right.  It can lead to poverty and God can cause us to leave them in the midst of our days (lead verse, Jeremiah 17:11).  For the Lord richly gives us all things to enjoy – of His choosing; not ours (1 Timothy 6:17).

Our “stuff” can be too much – even for a church (Exodus 36:4-7).  We are to take heed and not regard our belongings – for our lives do not consist in the abundance of things we possess (Genesis 45:20, Luke 12:15).  When Christ returns – our stuff will be left behind (Luke 17:30-31).  In the meantime, if we have two coats – we are to give one away (Luke 3:11).  We are not to seek our own wealth – but every man another’s (1 Corinthians 10:24).

Not so anyone is overly eased or burdened – but so there is an equality among all.  We can spend our time in life gathering – and find out we still are lacking; and we can spend our time scattering – and find out we lack nothing (lead verse, Exodus 16:18, 2 Corinthians 8:11-15).  We didn’t bring a thing into these lives – and it is certain we can carry nothing out (1 Timothy 6:7).

A certain rich man had grounds which brought forth plentiful fruit.  He gathered so much from the reaping – he had no room left to store them.  His solution?  Instead of sharing and scattering his bounty – he decided to tear down the barns he had and build bigger ones.  So he could have enough to survive on in future years.  But God told this man he was a fool – for that night his soul would be required of him  – and then who would have his harvest (Luke 12:16-20)?

He had been rich towards himself – gathering up goods for his own good.  However, he was not rich towards God – for he did not scatter it to others who may have been not so fortunate as he was (Luke 16:21). The redemption of our souls is precious – we can’t buy them back with bank accounts or blessings (Psalm 49:6-8) – which scatter when we die. What does it profit any of us if we live gathering goods and gaining the whole world, yet lose our souls in the end (Mark 8:36)?

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– Being planted, shall it prosper? – Ezekiel 17:10

– But he answered and said, “Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted, shall be rooted up.” – Matthew 15:13

Just because we plant physical seeds in the ground – isn’t a guarantee anything is ever going to start to grow at all.  They have to be sown in the right season (Ecclesiastes 3:2), and for the right reason.  Proper soil is essential to anything ever taking root.  Proper growing conditions are also necessary throughout – from germination to the final giving forth of fruit.

Too much rain or sun – or too little – at any point along the way can contribute to a complete crop failure.  Even if everything goes right and a bountiful harvest is produced – there have to be enough laborers to do the reaping before everything goes bad on the vine (Matthew 9:37). Constant gardening is a must along the way to gather much fruit at the end.

The same can be said for spiritual seeds.  Christ likened our hearts and souls to soil.  Just because the Word is sown anywhere – isn’t any assurance anything is ever going to grow. Sometimes, spiritual seeds are snatched away by Satan as soon as they are planted.  Other times, they can be sown in stony hearts.  The soul’s soil is thin – and set among many rocks.

Those receiving the Word this way can receive it with gladness for a time – but nothing takes root.  As soon as afflictions or persecutions arise for the Word’s sake – they are offended. Spiritual seeds can also be sown among thorns.  When cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things enter in – weeds choke out the Word – and the seed becomes unfruitful in us (Mark 4:15-19).

When sown in good ground – and the growing conditions are right from start to finish – spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) can be brought forth year to year.  Some thirty-fold, some sixty-fold – some even a hundred-fold (Mark 4:20).  Long after we are gone – the seeds of love, long-suffering and peace we’ve sown can live on for generations.

The root of the righteous shall not be moved – and shall yield fruit (Proverbs 12:3, Proverbs 12:12).  Blessed are we who hope and trust in the Lord – for our roots will not stop from bringing forth fruit (Jeremiah 17:7-8).  When we are “born again” of the Holy Spirit, the crucified Christ comes to dwell in our hearts by faith – so we can be rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:16-17).

God then becomes the holy vine within us – through the power of the Holy Ghost – and we are but the branches.  Every branch that does not bear fruit – He takes away.  Every branch that does bear fruit – He purges so that it may bring forth more spiritual fruit (John 15:1-5). Although there are many similarities to how physical and spiritual seeds grow – God alone is the constant gardener of the latter.

Just remember, we are sowers as Christians – not growers.  Our seed is the Word of God (Mark 4:14, Luke 8:11).  We are to put our hand to the plow and not look back – or we are not fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).  The Lord will send someone else along to do the watering – but He alone will provide any increase (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).

If we plow wickedness, we will reap iniquity – and we will eat the fruit of lies – for we have trusted in our way and in the multitude of mighty men.  The wicked shall be cut off from the earth – and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.  If we sow righteousness, though – we will break up our fallow ground – and reap in mercy until God comes and rains righteousness upon us (Proverbs 2:22, Hosea 10:12-13).

However, we are not to become righteous over much – or too wise – lest we destroy ourselves (Ecclesiastes 7:16).  We can sow thousands of seeds – then attempt to go back and grow every one of them to produce the fruit we want – when we want. This only ends up defiling the fruit of our vineyards (Deuteronomy 22:9).

Too much sowing can also stress any soil if it’s not given a chance to rest and recover.  We are to plant – then pray God will send forth laborers unto His harvest – not ours (Matthew 9:38). Regardless of what seeds we sow – physical or spiritual – it is God alone who decides what body to give it as it pleases Him (1 Corinthians 15:37-38).

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