Sep 05

parable of…growth, readiness and perception

sow-seed

It’s fascinating to read the parables of Jesus because there always seems to be something new that comes from it. That’s how I feel about the parable of the sower.

The parable is simple: the sower (Christ) scatters his seed generously and it ends up on four different types of terrain.

Some land on 1) the side of the road, 2) some on rocks, 3) others in thorny soil and; 4) some in good soil. The first three groups of seed die and the seed planted in the good soil flourishes.

Jesus shares that the sower scattered seed (the Word of God) on all types of ground. It didn’t say that he was meticulously planting the seeds in designated ‘good soil’ areas – it says he was scattering the seed everywhere.

Doesn’t that seem wasteful though? I mean, if I were planting a field, why would I throw seed on rocks, thorns, and the side of the road? Wouldn’t you want to be careful and put the seed in the good soil from the beginning?

The meaning of the parable of the sower is twofold:

  1. To show that Christ came to share the Word of God with everyone. We don’t serve a stingy God who picks and chooses who is good enough to hear the word. He graciously sows into everyone who is willing to accept his word.
  2. To show us how the different soils in our life can keep us from sharing God’s truth with others.

Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The “sower” sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.

Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.  But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the “deceitfulness of riches” and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

THE SOILS

‘Some Fell Along the Path’

This is the ‘in one ear, out the other’ crowd. Picture a middle-eastern road hardened by years of travel by men and animals. What happens to the seed when it falls here? It sits out in the open for the birds to come and get it. If we don’t take God’s Word seriously, that’s the soil we’re representing.

‘Some Fell On Rock’

These people know the Word of God, but when they’re tested, they collapse. They have no root. They’re not planted deep enough in the soil, so God’s Word hasn’t truly become their foundation. It’s a superficial faith that springs up when times are good. But when the heat comes, just like the sun on a hot day, the small seedling that shot up on the rock will wither and die for lack of soil and water.

‘Other Seed Fell Among Thorns’

They hear the word, but do nothing with it. They know the word, but don’t truly accept it. They teach it, but don’t practice it. If we’re not earnestly seeking the Word of God, it leads to indifference about devotions and relationship with him.

The message to the “Sower”, from Jesus:

“The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them…blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

Those who would receive instruction from Christ must know and consider what a privilege it is to be instructed by him, what a distinguishing privilege to be led into the light, such a light, when others are left in darkness, such a darkness.


The heart of man is as soil to the seed of God’s word; it is capable of receiving it, and bringing forth the fruits of it; but, unless that seed be sown in it, it will bring forth nothing valuable. To what purpose have we the seed in the scripture, if it be not sown? And to what purpose have we the soil in our own hearts, if it be not sown with that seed?

The success of the seeding is very much according to the nature and temper of the soil, and as that is, (or is not), disposed to receive the seed. The devil is a subtle and spiteful enemy, that makes it his business to hinder our profiting by the word of God. He takes the word out of the hearts of careless hearers, lest they should believe and be saved. Therefore the devil does all he can to keep us from believing, to make us not believe the word when we read and hear it; or, if we heed it for the present, to make us forget it again, and let it slip, or if we remember it, to create prejudices in our minds against it, or divert our minds from it to something else.

Where the word of God is heard carelessly there is commonly a contempt put upon it too. They that willfully shut their ears against the word, do in effect trample it under their feet; they despise the commandment of the Lord.

Those on whom the word makes some impressions, but they are not deep and durable ones, will show their hypocrisy in a time of trial; as the seed sown upon the rock, where it gains no root. These believe a little while; their profession promises something, but in time of temptation they fall away from their good beginnings. Whether the temptation arises from the smiles or the frowns, of the world, they are easily overcome by it.

The pleasures of this life are as dangerous and mischievous thorns that choke the good seed of the word. It is not enough that the fruit be brought forth, but it must be brought to perfection, it must be fully ripened. If not, it is as if there was no fruit at all brought forth.

The good ground, which brings forth good fruit, is an honest and good heart, well disposed to receive instruction and commandment; a heart free from sinful pollutions, and firmly fixed for God and duty, an upright heart, a tender heart, and a heart that trembles at the word, is an honest and good heart, which, having heard the word, understands it.

Where the word is well kept there is fruit brought forth with patience. There must be both bearing patience and waiting patience; patience to suffer the tribulation and persecution which may arise because of the word; patience to continue to the end in well-doing.

In consideration of all this, we ought to take heed how we hear; take heed of those things that will hinder our profiting by the word we hear, watch over our hearts in hearing, and take heed lest they betray us; take heed lest we hear carelessly and slightly, lest, upon any account, we entertain prejudice against the word we hear; and take heed to the frame of our spirits after we have heard the word, lest we lose what we have gained.

Those that have received the gift of sowing the Word, are Ministers that have the dispensing of the gospel committed to them; people that have profited by the word and are thereby qualified to profit others. They are lighted candles and must in solemn authoritative preaching, diffuse their light; for a candle must not be covered with a vessel nor put under a bed, Ministers and Christians are to be lights in the world, holding forth the word of life!

“I have planted. Apollos watered, but God Himself…will give…increase”

 

Aug 31

gifts from hardships

Pain touches everyone. No one is exempt from hardship. On every level of life, there are hardships! So be very careful what you ask for!

We don’t ask for hardships, and of course, are usually not welcomed. They’re not something one would plan into their life’s development, but yet, hardships are among our most powerful teachers!

Many of us underestimate what it takes to get to that next level in life! Oftentimes we don’t examine the cup of suffering that happens on the future destinyway to this next level and what it all entails. We don’t inspect the “cross” that we will have to bear! These cups and crosses will be “the path,” and will be how you will get to your next level!

So many people want the promotion without the problems, riches without work, fame without humility! That won’t happen!! So before you ask…you better examine the cup!

For example: If you want your own home, there may come a time that you will experience some hardships! You will have to do your own maintenance and all the issues you didn’t have to deal with before!

Sometimes on this journey to the next level, life will tease, taunt and ridicule you! You help others with their issues and can’t seem to fix your own!! You help others with their marriage and yours fail!  You bend over backwards for your boss and someone else gets the promotion! WOW!

If you are going through a period where life has taunted you, just know that this is the nature of the beast! You will get mocked sometimes, you will feel beat-up sometimes. You will certainly get talked about and judged sometimes!! But if you never experience bullying or being mistreated, then you will never respect the “gifts gained,” or experience the steps of how to win, and neither will you discover who ‘you’ really are! Hardship is painful. But if you can learn from it, you gain something back!

Your story is not over!  And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Pet.5:10

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Gifts gained from Hardships: (Compliments of Center for Creative Leadership)

Gift #1
Greater insight or clarity about what makes you tick .
Hardships force you to come face-to-face with who you are. The experience of hardship often reveals limitations, patterns, beliefs and skills you didn’t see or appreciate before. This shift in self-awareness is powerful. You have the chance to make new choices based on what matters; how you act, think and feel; and what you can and cannot do.

Gift #2
Increased compassion for others. A significant dose of humility usually comes with hardship. It is never easy to confront the truth that you are not perfect, invincible or immune to tough and terrible things. But going through hardship can open your eyes to the hardships of others. Receiving support and help from others may motivate you to give support and help more readily. Your sense of compassion can grow.

Gift #3.
Resilience 
 Surviving hardship and willing yourself to move forward builds added strength to tackle new challenges and face future failures. Resilience allows you to be flexible and durable as things change. It teaches you to be open to learning and agile as you figure out what to do next.

Aug 18

Self-Independent pride

Self-Independence” is the fruit of Pride.
 It is a condition of not depending on the set authority. 


(Lk 18:9)
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Prov 16:18)
Pride will have a fall! Those that are of a haughty spirit, that think of themselves above what is necessary to comply, and look with contempt upon others that do, and those who with their pride affront God and disquiet others, will be brought down, either by repentance or by ruin. 

Pharaoh, Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, were instances of this. 

Jul 27

Targeted Stimulation

Sometimes the best relationship you can have with other people will be those who challenge the way you think about your perspectives! stimulation
They stimulate growth and cultivate your ideologies and cause you to flourish into who you need to be.

They can help you to think and process things more clearly and see the same light through a different lens, and help you understand who you are.

Stop running from straight-shooters sowing light, it will chased away your darkness!

Jul 11

Over-thinking much???

OVER-THINKING: The art of creating problems that weren’t even there. It is simply a form of Fear, and becomes worse when you mix anticipation, memory imagination and emotion…together. 

 

Over-thinking situations ruins you, ruins the situation, twists things around, makes you worry, and just makes everything much worse than it actually is.

 

Change your thoughts, you change your world….think promises of God-which are Yas-s-s and Amen!

Jul 08

Losing heart?

img_4673.jpgDon’t grow weary in well doing, for in due season, you will reap if you faint not!

In short, don’t lose heart in “spending yourself” through love, because if you do, the works of the flesh take over, and “those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom.”

If you stop sowing to the Spirit and sow to your own flesh, you will not reap life, (eternal or otherwise), but you will reap corruption!

Jul 05

“what’s your reality?!

WorkInProgressMany believers have a reality that is not rooted in God. They are fearful of moving out of where they are in life because of so many anxieties, perceptions and appetites, and thus…their own perceptions have created their own realities! Real as well as false!!

In over 35 years as an ordained counselor; as well as professionally as a life, relationship, business and career coach, I have found that people are where they are because of ‘their own selves’, not anyone else!

 

A Believer must accept the parameters that God has set for us and live therein…hence: “I am a believer!

We all have been given gifts, talents and “the same measure’ of faith! we have to work, work, work, work work…this faith by having corresponding actions of what we say we believe, not just ‘talking’ about believing, or by measuring ourselves according to someone else’s purpose!

We all must learn to value God’s vision and His perception of what truly is real! After all believer, He is the real deal, right?!…and in order to activate your purpose, God has to be your only source, not just one of your choices! If He is not…then your struggle will continue!

Jul 01

Power Move!

Self-control is a power move!

Self-control is one of the character traits (“fruit”) of the spirit of God. It means that you aren’t so carried away by negative emotions and what is going on in the moment, that you can’t deal with the situation intelligently.

Sometimes, we are in such a state of warfare, that we must constantly shut out all potential enemies. Temptations are everywhere; our haters surround us like bees; evils of many sorts seduce us to retaliate!

In us all, there are passions, desires, affections, all of which may either lead to misconduct, or to integrity. Then there are those peculiarities of individual character in each of us, that need constant re-enforcing, lest these peculiarities become excessive and sinful.

Let us all remember that we must thus submit to Christ, and then be able to truly say, ‘I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.”

The strife will not necessarily cease immediately; the haters will probably still swarm; but He will ‘keep our heads in the day of battle’; and though often we may be driven from our stance on the wall, and perhaps some of our outposts may be lost, and there may remain gaping violations and infractions, yet we will inevitably, be safe. He will watch over us and dwell in us, and we shall be as ‘a city set on a hill,’ which cannot be hidden.

He who has no self-control, is like a city that is left defenseless, exposed to the assault of every temptation. Prov. 25:28

 

Jun 23

Submission releases favor…

1-favorTwo incompetents (lets name them Burt & Earl) are standing before the Pearly Gates. The Saint Peter, holding the keys, is scowling at Earl. Burt whispers to Earl, “If I were you I’d change my shirt, Earl.” Earl’s T-shirt reads, “Question Authority.”

Americans think that questioning or defying authority is our inalienable constitutional right. If our President begins to act as if he were the king, we rally to throw him out of office. It carries down through our society, all the way to rebellion on the family level. We resist the concept of authority. We don’t like submitting to anyone.

When it comes to the church, most American evangelicals do not view it as a place where you submit to the leadership for the purpose of growth and accountability, but rather as a store where you shop as a consumer. If you like the place and it services your needs, you come back. If another place down the road offers a more pleasant experience, you move your business there. Thus pastors who are trying to market their churches don’t dare say anything that might offend or upset the customers. The customer is king. You want to please your customers. With this consumer view about the church, the idea of spiritual authority, of proclaiming, “Thus says the Lord,” seems odd and out of place.

As we approach Titus 2:15, we must avoid extremes such as Jim Jones, the cult leader who killed over 900 followers back in the 70’s! Even in less extreme situations, many Christians have had bad experiences with authoritarian pastors who wrongly lord it over the flock. Often these men mistakenly claim that you can’t “touch the Lord’s anointed,” meaning that the pastor is beyond criticism or correction, even if he is engaging in sinful or unbiblical practices. They misunderstand true biblical authority! People of God must teach God’s Word and lead the church with true biblical authority, and the church must submit to such authority.

Paul, the Apostle brings out the fact that people who reject the Word seem to assume that they can nonetheless dodge the pointed application of the Word to their lives by disregarding the man who teaches the Word. If he exhorts or reproves them from the Word, they can say, “Who does he think he is to say such things? He probably doesn’t practice what he preaches!” And so, by disregarding the preacher, they disregard the Word. In reality, they are not in submission to God, but they dodge the serious implications of that by attacking God’s messenger.

Statements about biblical authority, based upon Titus 2:15 will to help you understand this important concept so that you will submit all of your life to God, who is the ultimate authority, and reap the blessings that come from a life of submission to Him

1. All authority on the human plane is delegated authority.

Romans 13:1-2: “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. There is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”

In the book of Daniel, chapter 4:17, 25-God humbles the proud Nebuchadnezzar. The emphasis: “that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes.” All authority is delegated from God and those in authority are accountable to God.

This means that no person, no matter what office he holds, is above rebuke if he strays from the ultimate authority of God’s Word. Daniel had to tactfully, but directly, confront the proud Nebuchadnezzar about his sin.

In the local church, the Bible states that elders are not to lord it over those allotted to their charge, but rather to be examples to the flock (1 Pet. 5:3). Therefore, if a pastor or a group of elders, disregard God’s Word and lord it over the church, they need to be confronted in line with biblical guidelines (1 Tim. 5:19-20). If they do not repent, they should be removed from office and put under church discipline. Only obedient men, who acknowledge that they are under God’s sovereign authority, are in a position to exercise biblical authority in a local church.

  1. All authority is designed for our blessing and protection.

When authority is abused, it hurts those under authority. In such cases, God ultimately will judge the abuser. But when it is exercised properly, authority blesses and protects those under it.

God has instituted several spheres of authority. Romans 13 establishes the authority of civil government, which is supposed to punish lawbreakers and protect those who obey the laws. The government should protect its citizens by passing and upholding just laws. When the government fails to do its job, the citizens suffer.

  1. Authority does not imply superiority.

If subjection means inferiority, then it would mean that Jesus Christ is inferior to the Father, which is heresy! The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are equal as persons in their eternal deity, but to carry out the divine plan of redemption, the Son submitted to the Father and the Spirit submitted to the Son. But the Son and the Spirit are equally God along with the Father.

  1. Authority does imply responsibility and accountability.

We often see authority as a perk, but not as a serious responsibility. The key concept of delegated authority is not that I’m the boss, but rather that I’m responsible and accountable. The main thing to keep in mind is, it is not your Kingdom, and you must give an account to the owner of the Kingdom! (Jesus/Jehovah God)

To be “in” authority in any sphere means that someday you must give an account to God, who entrusted that position to you. If you use your authority to abuse those under you for your own advantage, you’re going to be in big trouble someday. If you use it to seek to accomplish God’s will by blessing and protecting those under your charge, you will be rewarded (Luke 12:42-48; 20:9-16).

But you can’t blame those under your authority for your own lack of godly leadership. If a church refuses to follow God’s Word, each member will answer to God. But also He will hold the elders accountable.

The way authority works is that if those in authority sins, those under authority will suffer for it. When David sinned with Bathsheba, David’s family and eventually the entire nation suffered the consequences. When he later sinned by numbering the people, thousands died as a result.

Thus the concept that authority implies responsibility and accountability should strike fear and trembling into the hearts of everyone “in” authority. We should be careful to confess and repent of all sin, so that those whom we are supposed to bless and protect do not suffer, and so that we can give a good account when we stand before the Lord.

  1. Authority concerns character primarily and position secondarily.

In the world and, sadly, often in the church, these get reversed. A man seeks the position of authority, but he lacks the character to lead. Once he secures the position, he doesn’t command respect, so he asserts his authority by lording it over others (Mark 10:42-45). They finally get fed up and rebel. So, rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”

Thus character is the primary thing in authority, because godly character commands respect and a man with respect has authority. But, there is also a secondary aspect of authority, namely, the “authority of position or office.” Hopefully, the man who fills the office graces the position with godly character. But even if he falls short, we need to maintain a certain respect for the office.

I once heard a Pastor tell how when he had just become the pastor of a church; a little old lady came up and started reprimanding him over something that she didn’t like. He shocked her by saying, “Wait a minute! You can’t talk to me like that! I am your pastor and God put me here to lead you spiritually. You can’t talk to me with that tone of voice!” She meekly said, “I’m sorry.” The pastor said he felt like slapping her on the backside and saying, “Now, get back into the game!”

  1. Authority is exercised in the local church through teaching and correcting with God’s Word.

Sometimes (hopefully, rarely) the elders must take correction to the level of public church discipline When that happens, the church must submit to the discipline by breaking fellowship with the sinning member (1 Cor. 5:1-13).

Note that the man of God must teach the Word of God with all authority. This does not mean beating people over the head with dogmatic views on minor issues. But it does mean that when the Bible clearly commands something, the preacher must not dodge the command or teach it as a “helpful hint for happy living.” It is the Word of the living God, and it must be preached as His mandate, not as an optional opinion that you may want to consider!

Both the preacher and the congregation are under the same authority of the Word. If it steps on your toes, it probably stepped on mine while I was studying the text for the message. We all must obey God’s Word.

 

Jun 17

Artificial projection…

artificial projection

Artificial projection is when you hide your flaws, and display a contrary message. It can be a form of defense in which unwanted feelings are displaced onto another person. Anyone can fake the outward but you can’t fake what you are inside!

For example: when you wash dishes and cups, which part of the cup needs the most cleaning? Which part requires your attention and concentration? Is it the inside or the outside? I hope we all agree that the inside of the cup is the one that gets dirty. It is the inside that needs the cleaning. But this doesn’t mean you don’t wash the outside; of course you do.

Many times, as we journey life, our heart (inner soul) needs cleaning. Just like the cup, our heart is not clean unless we address the issue that is inside! Our hearts needs to be clean from all sorts of unclean thoughts, motives, and actions…then the outside will reflect the inside.

I think it is safe to say, in this modern world “image” has a bigger place than life itself. We are bombarded every single day by the media, magazines, retail stores, internet…you name it, on how to look, what to eat, how to dress.

The cosmetics industry encourages you to “shell out” all you have, and that there’s a product that claims to hide every blemish, every spot and every imperfection, so that your exterior will appear flawless! As women, we seem to constantly search out products that can make us more ‘sexy and attractive.’ Now, more that ever, teens and young adults are purchasing enormous amounts of products to cover what seemingly are their imperfections!

Those in the kingdom seem to have the same worldly mind-set. We try to cover up our imperfections, blemishes and imperfections, as if God is some ‘unknown God’, who is not aware of all our imperfections!

Jesus said it this way:dirty cup

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but
within they are full of extortion (greed) and excess (self-indulgence)!”
Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” The hypocritical Pharisees were focused on making a good show in the flesh.

Our call as God’s children is based on becoming like Christ! This character development is a process! Life is not about you, it is about God! When the heart is right, there will be love for God evidenced by authenticity!

So when you go to throw a lot of money into trying to beautify the outer self, remember:  that it is not what is on the outside that matters, but what is on the inside! So, be smart, deal with your inside! For in doing this…you will have true life!

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

 

 

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