Reaping and Sowing

I love a garden. I love to walk out in the early morning and look at the new growth. I have had some great gardens over the years. I haven’t planted anything this year. I still may do it.

The process of planning a garden is fun. I simply plan for the harvest. I know the things that I want to enjoy at the harvest time and thus that dictates what seeds I plant. I know that when I harvest, I want to be able to pick a large juicy, ripe tomato – in fact, several of them. I know that tomato is rich in lycopene. Lycopene has been shown to help protect not only against prostate, but breast, pancreatic and intestinal cancers, especially when consumed with fat-rich foods, such as avocado, olive oil or nuts. Tomatoes offer significant anti-oxidant protection. Tomatoes are a very good source of potassium and a good source of niacin, vitamin B6, and folate. Niacin has been used for years as a safe way to lower high cholesterol levels. Diets rich in potassium have been shown to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Vitamin B6 and folate are both needed by the body to convert a potentially dangerous chemical called homocysteine into other, benign molecules. High levels of homocysteine, which can directly damage blood vessel walls, are associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. All of these nutrients work together to make tomatoes a truly heart-healthy food. So go eat a tomato.

When I harvest, I also want squash, cucumbers, banana peppers, watermelon, and green beans. The taste is awesome and the benefits are outstanding. Just think of how great a watermelon would taste right now. Did you know that a sweet, juicy watermelon is actually packed with some of the most important antioxidants in nature. Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of vitamin A, notably through its concentration of beta-carotene. Pink watermelon is also a source of the potent carotenoid antioxidant, lycopene. These powerful antioxidants travel through the body neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are substances in the body that can cause a great deal of damage.

Sowing, reaping, harvest…are all terms that we use in the physical world of gardening and on a much larger scale of farming. God gives us physical lessons to help explain spiritual truths. There are three principles that I have observed in my garden:

  1. You reap what you sow.
  2. You reap more than you sow.
  3. You reap later than you sow.

These are not only principles…they are laws of nature. This is set in stone. I know that when I plant 500 seeds of field corn, I will reap field corn…I will reap several hundred ears of corn possessing hundreds of kernels of corn…but I will not reap it for at least 3 months. So you reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow.

But this same thing will happen in the spiritual arena also. So let’s plan a spiritual garden. What harvest would you like to see? Let me help you with your spiritual garden. What do you need and enjoy experiencing? For me, I would like to harvest encourament for me; I would like to receive acceptance; I would like friends; I would like to receive adequate funds to enjoy life; I would like to harvest good deeds. Ok…in order to receive that harvest, you must actively plant the following seeds: encouragement, acceptance, friendship, giving, and good deeds. In order for you to be encouraged, you must plant seeds of encouragement. That simply means that today encourage someone…you will reap what you sow, later than you sow, more than you sow. Be a friend today…tomorrow receive more friends than you know what to do with! Give to the church today, give to an orphan today, give to a ministry to day…one day that harvest will come in…in a big way! Accept someone today! Receive it one day! Do good deeds today and receive good deeds in the future. And guess what…in the spiritual arena, you do not have to worry about winter time…you can plant spiritual seeds all the time thus insuring that you will harvest all the time!

But there is another side to story…when you sow bad seeds, you will harvest a bad crop. When you are mean, critical, spiteful, hard, judgemental, rejecting, selfish, cruel, demeaning, disrespectful, and unfriendly….these are all seeds. Remember…even with these…you reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow.

Inspect your harvest right now. What are you getting in life? Are people mean, abusive, critical…to you? Did you plant the wrong seeds about 3 months ago or a year ago or two years ago? You say…but I am good now and I am good to people now! Yes, but how were you in days gone by? Whatever flows out of your heart right now, that is what you are going to reap in just a few months! If you don’t like the harvest…adjust the seeds that you are planting.

Does that mean that all bad things that happen to you is a result of you planting bad seeds? No…you may be experiencing the benefits of someone else planting bad seeds.

God bless…go plant some good seeds!

Sheilah and I have a tremendous peace in our life right now. We are in the center of God’s Will for us. That is the most perfect place in life to be! We both are experiencing some wonderful times with the Lord. He is teaching us some great truths. The fellowship with the Lord right now is priceless. It is great to be in the flow of God’s grace and goodness.

 

Tough Times

Our prayer is that you recognize that no matter what you are experiencing right now in your life…God means it for good because at the very heart of it all, God loves you! So rejoice and be glad.

It is a truth that God allows his children to go through tough times for several reasons. First, tough times correct us. Sometimes we have to face the painful consequences of life so that we can repent and grow. Second, tough times also deepen us. It’s like a plant. The roots of the plant only get deeper if they don’t have water available on the surface. And deep roots make for strong plants. What is true for vegetation is also true of people. Third, tough times provide unique opportunities. The person going through a difficult time has a unique chance to demonstrate faithfulness. The person who is faithful in tough times speaks so much more effectively than the preacher in the pulpit. The fact that Paul kept preaching in spite of the beatings, stonings and imprisonments show that he really believed what he preached. And when you and I are faithful in tough times we show that we really do trust Him.

Down through the ages God has allowed his people to go through difficult times.

  • Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son
  • Joseph was sold into slavery and falsely convicted of a crime
  • David was pursued in the wilderness
  • Jeremiah was thrown in jail as a traitor
  • Hosea’s wife deserted him
  • Job lost everything
  • The apostles were constantly thrown in jail and persecuted

Do you see how important this is to realize? Instead of cursing these times we should welcome them as “grad school experiences” in the school of faith. In the tough times of life we learn things we could never learn in the times of abundance.

Consider Moses and the Children of Israel as they approached the Red Sea.

Exodus 14:10-12 (NKJV)
And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. [11] Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? [12] Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?’ For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”

Impossible Situations Should be Faced With Peace Instead of Panic!

Exodus 14:13-18 (NKJV)
And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. [14] The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
[15] And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. [16] But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. [17] And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. [18] Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”

When Times Are Difficult Do What He Commands And Watch Expectantly!

There are certainly times in our lives when we have no idea what God is doing. There are times when we feel abandoned and lost. But the child of God is never abandoned. Nothing will separate us from His love. No one or no thing can take us from His love. So, when we are backed into a corner we must keep doing what we know is right and then watch to see what God will do.

  • keep telling the truth
  • keep your commitments
  • maintain your standard
  • keep praying
  • keep growing
  • keep honoring Him with your life

In some situations this means,

  • we keep making contacts for ministry and employment
  • we keep trying to have children
  • we keep doing our job
  • we keep praying for that rebellious family member

That sounds very tough I know, but our job is to remain faithful . . . God’s job is to rescue us.

Try to imagine Moses as he lifted up his staff over the waters and wondered what God was going to do. Imagine the awe and the wonder as the waters miraculously parted and the wind blew the river bed dry so they could walk across it. Imagine the cautious first step of the people as they walked between the mountains of water and the broad smile when they reached the other side. Imagine the panic as they saw the Egyptians begin to follow them and then the wide eyes as the water washed away their enemies for good. Is it any wonder that they worshipped?

That’s what it’s like for those who dare to trust God. We walk by faith and wait to see what God will do. And when we patiently trust we find that we are led to worship and bow down before the God who is sufficient for our every need.

God is the sovereign Lord and majesty of the universe; therefore, He can do as He wills. He told Moses that He Himself was in charge of this event, not man. Pharaoh was not in charge, neither were Moses and the Israelites. God was in charge; He was in total control of all that was to happen. Thus the very demonstration of God’s sovereignty, of His control of the event, was to bring great glory to God.

We love you and thank God for you! God has us in His hand…we have in our hand…a promise: Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. And remember this: Isaiah 30:21 (NKJV) Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Keep listening for the voice!