SEEDTIME AND HARVEST

Gen. 8:22 – While the earth remains,

Seedtime and harvest,

And cold and heat,

And summer and winter,

And day and night

Shall not cease.

I had to learn quickly about provision when the Lord called me to pioneer a church in New Orleans in 1979. I had spent my previous six years as a Christian living in a Christian community. Like everything else, community living had its pros and cons. For example, it wasn’t easy to turn over the whole pay check every week. We had a common purse so everything went into the kitty. The positive, I had no concern with bills or financial matters, that was someone else’s concern. The problem I was facing in starting a church was this whole provision thing. I had to provide for my family as well as figure out finances for a new church. That’s when someone turned me on to a book from Oral Roberts on seed faith living. Those principles of sowing and reaping enabled us to get started in our ministry with God as the source of our supply. Here are some thoughts from Oral Roberts about seed faith living, these words can be a huge help in your life.

“Noah’s first acts after the Flood were to build an altar and to sacrifice to the Lord. God was pleased and made promises to the human family through the faith of Noah. He also instituted the Law of Seedtime and Harvest: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest . . . shall not cease”. When God created the first living thing, He gave it the ability to grow and multiply. How? Through the Seed. Your life began by the seed principle. Every act of your life since your birth has operated by the seed principle—springing from good seeds or bad seeds you have sown—whether or not you were consciously aware of your seed-planting. The principle continues today. To overcome life’s problems, reach your potential in life, see your life become fruitful, multiplied, replenished (that is, in health, finance, spiritual renewal, family, or your entire being), determine to follow God’s law of seedtime and harvest. Sow the seed of His promise in the soil of your need.”

So have you bought in to God’s plan of provision? Connect yourself to the Lord’s work financially and see God as your source. You too can begin to enjoy the harvest of a seed faith lifestyle.

WAITING ON THE LORD

Psa. 27:14 Wait for the LORD;

be strong, and let your heart take courage;

wait for the LORD!

One of my big challenges throughout my Christian experience has been waiting on the Lord. I have a natural tendency, like many of us, to take matters into my own hands. How many times do I have to be reminded that the Lord doesn’t need my help? Taking what we perceive as the Lord’s work into our own hands can be quite deceptive. We mask our own motives behind a spiritual facade. How do I know? I have been guilty too many times. Waiting on the Lord brings us to a place of total dependency on the Lord, gives us greater clarity, and makes room for His power and glory to be displayed. As Isaiah says, “they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. Here are some thoughts from A.B. Simpson on waiting on the Lord.

“Wait on the Lord. How often this is said in the Bible; how little understood! It is what the old monk called the “practice of the presence of God”. It is the habit of prayer. It is the continual communion that not only asks, but receives. It is this that renews our strength until we “mount up with wings as eagles, run and are not weary, walk and are not faint.” Our hearts are too limited to take in His fullness at a single breath. We must live in the atmosphere of His presence till we absorb His very life. This is the secret of spiritual depth and rest, of power and fullness, of love and prayer, of hope and holy usefulness. Wait, I say, on the Lord.

Waiting on the Lord is how my calling to New Orleans was confirmed to me so many years ago. I was zealous for foreign missions. I had built my zeal reading about missionaries like Hudson Taylor, C.T. Studd, Jim Elliot, and David Brainerd. I wanted to make my mark on the nations. As I was preparing to go, the Lord spoke to me by various means all saying the same thing, “Be still and know that I am God”. As I reluctantly waited on clarity from the Lord His direction became crystal clear, I was to return to my home in New Orleans. Yes, I was called as a missionary; a missionary to the city of New Orleans.

MOMMA DONT CRY!

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS

Luke 7:11-15 – “Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said DONT CRY!

Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.”

An encouraging word to you my dear mothers who cry over your children! Christ visits all those who are dead, lost, or in harms way. Never give up!

Spurgeon says “He scatters His mercy by the roadside and anywhere and everywhere His paths drop fatness. Where Jesus journeys or sleeps, a word will find Him ready to conquer death, or quell the tempest. Yonder a procession descends from the city. Our spiritual eyes see death upon the pale horse coming forth from the city gate with great Suddenly the procession is arrested by another—a company of disciples and much people are coming up the hill. We need not look at the company but we may fix our eyes upon One who stands in the center, a Man in whom lowliness was always evident and yet majesty was never wanting. It is the living Lord, even He who only has immortality and in Him death has now met his destroyer. The battle is short and decisive—no blows are struck—for death has already done his utmost. With a linger the chariot of death is arrested—with a word the spoil is taken from the mighty and the lawful captive is delivered.”

My dear mother never lose heart! What I love about this story is that Jesus halts the procession of death. So many of our children are in harms way but Christ halts the progress of it. He interrupts the cycle that we were on. It’s in his nature to heal. He has a touch full of power.

Maclaren said “Note that this voice of Christ’s has power in the regions of the dead. Wherever that young man was, he heard; in whatsoever state or condition he was, his personality felt and obeyed the magnetic force of Christ’s will!”

My dear mother -wherever your dear son or daughter is God is able! Able to find, hunt down, deliver and he hears our cry!

EXPECTING

My expectation is from him —Psalm 62:5

 

Are you expecting? I mean are you expecting something from the Lord? For the expectant mother, she is beyond hoping she is going to have a baby, she is pregnant and a baby is coming for sure. The only question for her is the timing, when will that baby be born? We can learn a great lesson from the expectant mom, we too are not hoping for a fulfillment of our promise, there is a certainty that it is on the way. What is the difference of believing for something and being expectant? The difference is enormous. Many of us are praying or hoping for certain things to come to pass in our lives but that is not expectancy. Expectancy happens when the answer is actually conceived in us by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. When that happens, the promise is certain, timing is the only question. Here is how A.B. Simpson describes this verse.

“When we believe for a blessing, we must take the attitude of faith and begin to act and pray as if we already had it. We must treat God as if He had given us our request. We must lean our weight upon Him for the thing that we have claimed and just take it for granted that He gives it and is going to continue to give it. This is the attitude of trust.

When a young woman is married, she at once falls into a new attitude and acts in accordance with the fact. So it is when we take Christ as our Savior, our Sanctifier, our Healer and our coming Lord. He expects us to fall into the attitude of recognizing Him in the very capacity that we have claimed. Therefore, expect Him to be to you all that you have trusted Him for.”

When you were first born again you were introduced to this world of faith. Suddenly you realized you were saved by the blood of Jesus. You don’t hope you are a Christian, faith assures you that you are His child. All of God’s promises are like that, suddenly the light turns on and we move from hoping to knowing. Are you expecting? What kind of promise has been germinated in you? Stay in His word and abide in His presence, His promises are certain and your answer is on the way.

UPHELD BY THE POWER OF GOD

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Matt. 14:30,31 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

We know Jesus walked on the water but Peter walked on the water too. Sure, Peter started to sink, but he got out of the boat and made his way to Jesus. This story is in the Bible for a reason, maybe the Lord is calling all of us to a deeper life in the Spirit. Maybe there is some water walking in all of our future. Water walking is seldom planned, it comes out of nowhere. Suddenly a storm blows up and you have no other choice, stay in the sinking boat or walk on the water with Jesus. It could be the Macedonian call in the night, a voice out of a burning bush, or a vision interrupted by a knock on the door. What we decide to do in those moments is critical, do we stay in the boat or get out and walk with Jesus. Here are some thoughts from Adam Clarke on water walking.

“When he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid. It was by faith in the power of Christ he was upheld; when that faith failed, by which the laws of gravitation were suspended, no wonder that those laws returned to their wonted action, and that he began to sink. It was not the violence of the winds, nor the raging of the waves, which endangered his life, but his littleness of faith. Jesus stretched forth his hand. Every moment we stand in need of Christ: while we stand—we are upheld by his power only; and when we are falling, or have fallen, we can be saved only by his mercy. Let us always take care that we do not consider so much the danger to which we are exposed, as the power of Christ by which we are to be upheld; and then our mountain is likely to stand strong.”

Maybe you are in one of those storms. Human ideas and resources will never be enough to deal with a storm, only the power of God will do. Peter knew what he had to do, so do you and I; doing it is what matters. Consider the power of God, forget about the wind and the waves, He is more than able to uphold you with His power.

WALK ON THE WATER WITH ME

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Matt. 14:28,29 ¶ And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.

Walk on the water?! Really?! That’s what I felt the Lord was asking me to do in 1994. To step out of the place of safety I had learned to operate in and step into the supernatural. Actually He was asking me to step out of the boat of ‘how to grow a church’ jargon, into a life in the River of God. I remember it like it was yesterday, I was getting ready to take the platform in that Sunday morning service like I had been doing for years. I knew this time was going to be different. I heard Him gently say as I walked up the stairs to the pulpit, “Will you walk on the water with Me?” I really had no choice but to say yes. I was so tired of the ‘same old same old’ that I was ready to take a risk and get out of the boat. As soon as I said yes, I felt the atmosphere change in our church. The glory of the Lord was filling the auditorium. Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry about walking on the water with Jesus.

“The communion of true believers with Christ is represented by their being quickened with him, raised up with him, made to sit with him, and being crucified with him. Now, methinks, it is represented in this story by their walking with him on the water. Through the strength of Christ we are borne up above the world, enabled to trample upon it, kept from sinking into it, from being overwhelmed by it, obtain a victory over it, by faith in Christ’s victory, and with him are crucified to it. …Thus the sea of the world is become like a sea of glass, congealed so as to bear; and they that have gotten the victory, stand upon it and sing…”
So what does walking on the water mean to you? Maybe its coming to Christ for the very first time, maybe its yielding your talents and resources to Him. Maybe you are like me and it means being willing to step out of your comfort zone into the realm of the Spirit and His gifts. Whatever it means, GET OUT OF THE BOAT. Only then will you feel the touch of Jesus upon your life.

WAIT

Psa. 40:1 ¶ I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
From time to time I pull out classic Christian books that effected me in my earliest days as a Christian. One of those books is Waiting on God by Andrew Murray. Murray had a profound understanding of prayer and it seemed to be that the foundation of his revelation was waiting on the Lord. Too often prayer is perceived as us doing something. Many times we tend to think it is our prayer efforts that are important. Nothing could be further from the truth. Prayer is total dependency on God and prayer starts and finishes with waiting. Here are some of Murray’s thoughts on waiting on the Lord.
“In waiting on God it is of infinite consequence that we not only submit, because we are compelled to, but because we lovingly and joyfully consent to be in the hands of our blessed Father. Patience then becomes our highest blessedness and our highest grace. It honors God, and gives Him time to have His way with us. It is the highest expression of our faith in His goodness and faithfulness. It brings the soul perfect rest in the assurance that God is carrying on His work. It is the token of our full consent that God should deal with us in such a way and time as He thinks best. True patience is the “losing of our self-will in His perfect will.”
I love this, waiting honors God and focuses on His goodness and faithfulness. As we wait in the presence of our faithful God we know He is good and He is working in all things on our behalf. Anxiousness tends to take matters into its own hands. That leads to frustration and even more anxiety. Waiting on God deepens our faith and puts us in touch with Him which is far better than all answered prayers. Murray continues to speak of the rich reward found in waiting.
“Patient waiting upon God brings a rich reward; the deliverance is sure; God Himself will put a new song into your mouth. O soul! be not impatient, whether it be in the exercise of prayer and worship that you find it difficult to wait, or in the delay in respect of definite requests, or in the fulfilling of your heart’s desire for the revelation of God Himself in a deeper spiritual life – fear not, but rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.”
This new song not only sustains us but it brings great glory to God. David said many would take notice of this song of the Lord and would put their trust in Him.

BE STILL- GOD REIGNS

Psa. 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”
This verse has been special to me for many years. It was actually the one the Lord used to speak to me in 1977 that ultimately landed me back home in New Orleans. Taking matters into your own hands often leads to bad choices that, in turn, lead to unpleasant consequences.

Often times, especially when we are in tight spots, we tend to get ahead of ourselves, or better, we get ahead of the Lord. Yielding and trusting in the Lord puts us in position for Him to orchestrate the circumstances ahead of us as well as pouring His peace into our hearts. Thinking back to my dilemma in 1977, I could have strived and pushed to start a ministry where I wanted to go, or I could be still before the Lord. I am so glad I waited, favor and guidance is better than stress and frustration any day. Here are some thoughts from Jonathan Edwards on being still before the Lord.
“The great works of God, wherein his sovereignty appeared, had been described in the foregoing verses. In the awful desolations that he made, and by delivering his people by terrible things, he showed his greatness and dominion. Herein he manifested his power and sovereignty, and so commands all to be still, and know that he is God. For says he, I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. In the words may be observed…A duty described, to be still before God, and under the dispensations of his providence; which implies that we must be still as to words; not speaking against the sovereign dispensations of Providence, or complaining of them…We must be still as to actions and outward behavior, so as not to oppose God in his dispensations; and as to the inward frame of our hearts, cultivating a calm and quiet submission of soul to the sovereign pleasure of God, whatever it may be.”
Recognizing that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, ruling all things is a good place to start in our ‘being still’. He is orchestrating events for His kingdom plan to be realized. He turns the evil plans of the lost into tools to advance His kingdom. He blesses the work of His sons and daughters who joyfully wait on Him. Be still!! God will be honored and we will rest in His love.

DEEP UNTO DEEP

Luke 5:4 ¶ When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

I was thinking recently about the day Jesus appeared to the disciples while they were fishing on the Sea of Galilee. I say appeared because He had been crucified several days earlier and now made several appearances in His resurrected state. He saw the disciples were having a rough time fishing and told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. Familiar words to Peter, he remembered three years before when he heard very familiar words, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch”. All Peter could hear was “Launch out into the deep-again”. This was another new day, time to trust God again, time to launch out into the deep. Here is a poem by John Wright Follette talking about these deep places in God.
THE CALL OF DEEP UNTO DEEP

Down in the depth of my nature

Where the issues of life are born,
From that unknown mystical realm,
Surviving through ages of storm,
A call is forever rising–
But its language I cannot speak.
It was born ere I had being,
‘Tis the call of deep unto deep.

* * *

Our mother tongue here is awkward,
For no words can fully express
The needs in the depths of nature,
In bondage to sin and distress.
Our hearts in their depths sorely ache;
They hunger; they call; and they seek–
Then silently wait an answer
To the call of deep unto deep.

* * *

Down deep in the heart of our God,
In mystical regions sublime,
In the Godhead’s holy council
Long before our world or our time,
An answer was fully prepared
Every pain, every ache to meet,
In Christ, God’s only begotten,
Is answer to deep unto deep.

* **

The Answer indeed was the Word,
The Word when expressed was the Son.
Oh language of God how profound!
In answer what more could be done?
The heart of our God is hungry,
His portion, His people to seek.
“l thirst,” was cried by the Answer-
‘Tis the call of deep unto deep.
***
When Peter saw it was the Lord, he jumped in the ocean. He was determined to go out into the deep again. Maybe it is a new day in your life. Jesus is standing on the shore saying, “Come and follow Me”.

OVER HIS HEAD

Luke 5:8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” 
I was thinking recently of that fishing trip the disciples took after the resurrection of Jesus. They had no idea what the rest of their lives were to look like, so they did what all of us have done, took things into their own hands. They did what they only knew how to do, they went fishing (they had to be from Louisiana). That’s when their lives changed; again. Jesus appeared on the shore after a night of fishless fishing. “Throw your net on the other side”. Those were those strangely familiar words. Peter felt himself being transported to that day over three years before when he first met Jesus. Those words came resounding back into Peter’s head, “Launch out into the deep and let your nets down for a catch”. Before he could even come to his senses it was happening again, that boat sinking net ripping load of fish was being hauled into the boat. That’s when Peter remembered who this man was, he remembered the feeling when he first realized who had stepped onto his boat three years before. Those words were in his head again, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” Without thinking, Peter was in over his head, swimming to the shore to be with the lover of his soul. Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry on this verse.
“Peter, above all the rest, was astonished to such a degree that he fell down at Jesus’s knees, as he sat in the stern of his boat, and said, as one in an ecstasy or transport, that knew not where he was or what he said, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. Not that he feared the weight of the fish would sink him because he was a sinful man, but that he thought himself unworthy of the favor of Christ’s presence in his boat, and worthy that it should be to him a matter rather of terror than of comfort. It was the language of Peter’s humility and self-denial…Those whom Christ designs to admit to the most intimate acquaintance with him he first makes sensible that they deserve to be set at the greatest distance from him.”
Have you come to your senses yet? Has Jesus stepped onto your boat? Maybe its time to join Peter, jump into the deep, there is a supernatural world waiting for you.