“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
I have always enjoyed history, especially American History. One part that captured my attention involved a man named John Chapman, also known as Johnny Appleseed. He traveled through the Midwest planting apple seeds for 45years. It is estimated he spread more than twenty bushels of seeds, each bushel contained an estimated 300,000 seeds!
In the Bible there is the principle of sowing and reaping. You plant corn, you harvest corn. (Not potatoes) One ear of corn planted, will result in a harvest of several ears of corn. The more seeds you plant the more produce you harvest. While this principle always hold true, today’s “prosperity preachers” have mistakenly taught if you give $20 to their ministry; God will bless with a $100 reaping!
This doesn’t mean we’ll come into lots of money if we give to the Lord’s work. As many people have experienced, wealth can be fleeting, but if we sow into His Kingdom, we will reap blessing in both time and eternity far beyond our original gifts. Choose an investment that is reliable, is guaranteed to never fail and yield great rewards. Invest in the Kingdom of God.
Did you know that 106 of first 108 colleges and universities in America were founded on the Christian faith? Did you know that students at Harvard and Yale were required to read the scriptures twice daily? Harvard’s founders said, “All knowledge without Christ is vain.”
They didn’t say, “All knowledge without a higher power” or, “All knowledge without a supreme being.” They didn’t just say, “Without the Almighty.” These guys were not afraid to call on the Name of Jesus. They were not hesitant to say, “Christ is the only way.” They did not insult other religions. They knew that this nation was founded on principles that did not force Christianity on anybody and that people could worship however they wanted. However, as far as this nation and the governing of this nation was concerned, we were founded on Christian principles.
Are you ever even slightly ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Does the political spirit ever make you want to keep your mouth shut, lest you get verbally attacked? Guess what? Jesus has already made a way for you to repent.Look for an opportunity every day this week to share the love of Christ with someone in word or in an act of loving kindness.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (Romans 1:16: NKJV)
I am a person who likes to plan out their day but I also realize that I will probably not complete all the tasks on my to-do-list. Just as I am really getting into a task; it never fails; someone interrupts me. But as a Christ follower are they really ‘interruption? (The Lord directs the steps of the godly..”. (Psalm 37:23a)
No one has ever been busier than Jesus Christ. [Mark 6:31} But I never noticed how He handled ‘”interruptions.”
1) A man of influence approached Him with an urgent request to help his sick child. Though Jesus was ministering to a large crowd:
2) Jesus immediately saw this “interruption” as an opportunity to meet a need.
3) The ever-present crowd made progress difficult. Suddenly Jesus stopped and asked, “Who touched me?” The first “interruption” is now being interrupted by a second “interruption!” A woman had reached out in faith and was immediately healed. But why did Jesus stop? (Never that of this?) The woman’s healing had already occurred.
Jesus stopped to draw attention to her healing because she needed to realize that she wasn’t an interruption or unimportant to Jesus; she mattered. With compassion, He calls her “Daughter” and affirms her faith and sends her home.
Jesus invites us to come to Him like this woman did. He assures us that we’ll never be an interruption. ‘I will never turn away anyone who comes to me.” John 6:37a
When I was a boy, my mother bought me a series of books. They we called “We Were There.” They were stories based on historical events as though you were personally part of the story. That probably contributed greatly to my love of history.
I have often wondered what it would have been like to personally experience the events recorded in Scripture. I think we have a tendency to view Biblical characters as totally foreign to modern man. But the fact remains that man has basically been the same through the ages. Solomon wrote, “Everything that happens has happened before; nothing is new, nothing under the sun.”
So figurately, the characters involved in the Nativity basically represents mankind of all ages. There were three groups of people, of the three groups, you will find you were there.
Group One: True Worshippers; the Magi. This group recognizes who Jesus Christ is and worships Him.
Group Two: The Indifferent; Chief Priests and teachers of the Law. These learned men knew all the Scriptures concerning the coming of the Messiah and yet they totally ignored the most important event of history. This group represents the majority of people today; they knew all about Jesus but they are indifferent. They are not against Him but they do not see how Jesus can make a difference in their lives.
Group Three: The Hostile; Herod. The Roman Senate had given Herod the title King of the Jews since he was part Jewish but when Herod heard there was another King; he sought to kill Him. You do not have to look far to find those who oppose Jesus: Radical Moslems, the Human Rights Campaign, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the list goes on. The Washington Times has identified 200 ‘openly bigoted’ anti-Christian groups.
So the question is which group represents you? If you were there, which group would you identify with?
There is no question that our culture worships at the altar of success. We love rags-to-riches stories. We swallow the world’s lie that the person with the biggest bank account, largest mansion, most expensive car and who is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company is a success.
In the “religious” world, the church with the largest congregation and the most elegant campus is considered a success. Churches compete with each other for recognition. TV evangelists [some, not all] pride themselves with their ratings. Pastors from the small, country churches feel inferior to the “big-city” pastor.
While I don’t believe that churches should compete against one another, I do believe we should do and be our best. We are told to be faithful not successful. Matthew 25:20 Sometimes faithfulness and “success” run on the same track but not always. Missionaries and pastors sometimes labor years without seeing the fruit of their labor.
As Christ-followers, we must remember we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Each of us have our place of service in the Kingdom and it all works together. “The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” I Cor. 3:5-9
Everyone wants a great deal. We go through the newspaper looking for the best price on food, clothing, and automobile tires. Have you ever went to a yard sale or flea market and discover an item that is vastly under-priced? You know that the person selling the item obviously does not know its true worth. Do you try to talk them into selling it at ever a lower price?
As a Christ-follower, do you…
a) Praise God for this wonderful opportunity, buy the object without letting the owner know its true value? And then brag to your friends what a shrewd dealer you are?
b) Inform the owner of the real value and offer him a reasonable price?
Treat others in the same way that you would want them to treat you. Luke 6:31
Would love to hear your comments.
A little boy was having a problem obeying his mother, so she told him to sit down. He refused to obey. In her most authoritative voice, she told him to “Sit down!” The boy obeyed but replied, “I might be sitting down, but I am standing up on the inside!” Obedience? Hardly.
Sometimes I wonder if some Christ-followers have that kind obedience. But partial obedience is no obedience. Sometimes God asks us to do something that, in our humanness, if we do not understand or cannot see the logic, we hesitate to obey.
As I thought on this, I was amazed at the number of times in Scripture that God asked people to do some things that did not make sense. God doesn’t always give us the details of his commands.
Jericho. God simply told Joshua to have the people to march silently around Jericho …followed the commands of God that the walls of Jericho fell down Joshua 6:20 Marching around a city and blowing trumpets aren’t found in any military book but Joshua obeyed and the walls fell.
Peter. Jesus invites Peter to walk on water. Science says we cannot not walk on water but Peter obeyed and he walked on water.
Ananias. Acts 9 Saul (Later named Paul) was on his way to Jerusalem to persecute the Church when God intervened and asked a devout Jew to go and find Saul. Ananias reminded God that Saul was the enemy of the church. It would be like God tellings us to go minister to ISIS. But Ananias obeyed and gave him God’s message and Paul became the greatest missionary the world has seen.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is quoted as saying, “One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons.”
“Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is; delayed obedience is disobedience. Whoever strives to withdraw from obedience, withdraws from Grace.” -Thomas Kampis.