Thursday, February 25, 2010


“Hearken: behold, there went out a sower to sow.” – Mark 4:3-20

At this very moment, while typing, I am waiting for the arrival of a landscaping expert to quote replacing our front … well, “weed” with a new lawn; and there are a few other items of repairs and maintenance needed.

Interestingly, I am reading Mark 4: 1-20. It is one of Jesus’ parables usually referred to as, “The Parable of the Sower.”

The story goes like this:

“Hearken: behold, there went out a sower to sow. And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the wayside and the fowls of the air came and devoured it. And some fell on the stony ground where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell upon thorns and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth some thirty-fold, and some sixty, and some an hundred! And he said unto them, he that hath hears to hear, let him hear.”
- Mark 4 3-9

Here is the setting: There were so many people following Jesus on this occasion that he literally had to get into a boat, push it off from shore and yell to them from the water! This great multitude was waiting to hear something tremendously powerful; breathtakingly brilliant; unimaginably insightful! In reality they probably wanted a hand out – Jesus was known to be able to stir up a great meal from little or nothing…

But what does Jesus do? Out of nowhere, he stands up and tells this story! He simply tells the story about a fella planting! He may even have been referring to someone he actually saw at that very moment in the distance. There is no “opening act” to get the crowd settled. No orchestra, dancing girls or pyrotechnics. He tells a very simple, every-day-occurrence story and pretty much ends with, “thank you and good night.” He takes His bow and leaves. Huh? Excuse me? That’s it?

Use your imagination on this one…

A bit later, our attention is drawn to the disciples and a few of his closest followers. They are alone. Imagine their conversation:

“You ask Him...” “Heck no! I’m not going to ask Him; YOU ask Him…” “Why me? I asked Him the last time! YOU ASK HIM!”

You see a slight grin on Jesus’ face. He knows full well their childlike bewilderment.

Jesus explains the Sower (Jesus,Himself) sows the seed (His Word). And the various circumstance upon which His Word is sewn are the various circumstances of our hearts.

For some, the very moment this wonderful redeeming Word of God’s love touches their hearts - it vanishes – taken away by evil reasoning, “Why, THIS couldn’t be true. It goes against everything I was ever taught; ridiculous!”

For others it sounds kinda good! After all, it’s kinda the “in thing” to believe something. “To each his own; whatever turns you on. It’s cool.” But as soon as someone questions them on this new “faith-thing” maybe poking fun, criticizing their gullibility, it loses its luster. They were just, “checking it out; nothing serious.”

For others, it touches their hearts, may even take root but soon they become confused. Doubt sets in. They begin to worry about this “faith”. They question what it will truly cost. Might this new faith require them to change their lifestyle? Will they have to give away their money, leave their friends, and suffer persecution and shame? Their unfounded fear, doubt and confusion chokes them from ever experiencing the bountiful blessings meant for them and for those who know them.

And finally, there are those whose hearts are ready to receive the Word. It’s meaning reaches deep into their souls and they thrive. There is new joy and happiness! Others recognize in them a peace that seems to pass all understanding! There is just “something” about them that is wonderfully compelling!

This is the story. This is the way it has been taught. This is where it often ends; with an emphasis upon the sower and an encouragement for each of us to sow seeds. Or, and emphasis upon the seeds to explain that not everyone will accept the Word. But I would like to close by focusing upon – the soils.

You see, what is most encouraging to me is the fact that the only thing missing in this story is proper care for the soils. Perhaps today you feel as if you have been cast along the side of the road with no hope – your future looks dark and lonely. I've got Good News! This Word is for you! Perhaps you’ve heard the Word of God only “put it on” in a fashionable manner rather than letting it sink deep with your heart and empower you with a new joy, a new thrill for life and for living! I’ve got Good News! This Word is for you! Maybe the stresses of your life or job have made it impossible to even find joy. Sure, you’ve heard the Word; maybe you even believe, but life is unfair and its torment dominates your world. I’ve got Good News! This Word is for you!

HERE IS THE IMPORTANT POINT, with care, with commitment, with love and proper husbandry, hard ground can be made soft, stony ground can be made smooth, thorns can be removed. The hearts of mankind need not stay forever barren! Let that sink in! Never give up on your life! Never give up on the lives of those you love! Through the love of Christ, the hearts of mankind can become wonderfully fruitful!

Well, there's a knock at the door. Must be the landscaper. I've got a little bit of maintenance to do...

So what? SOW SEEDS!

God bless you today!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"... oh, and the backpack too!"

One night, while in college, I allowed my imagination to get involved in my prayer. I actually imagined leaving my room and being translated through the atmosphere to the pearly gates of heaven. I imagined those pearly doors slowly opening to allow my humble entrance. I saw a heavenly mist and a brilliant light rolling down the staircase that greeted me. On my knees, I slowly climbed those stairs until I envisioned the nail-scarred feet of Him who sat upon the throne. I humbly removed my backpack in which I concealed my trials and tribulations, my anguish, my fears, my humble requests. I laid each and every article in my backpack before the Lord and sincerely acknowledged my weakness and His strength.

Sounds spiritual enough so far – right?

As I ended my prayer, I began to clear the cluttered staircase of my failures, my guilt, my broken promises, my fears and my needs. I returned each into my backpack just as I had brought them.


In my imagination, He who sat upon the throne quietly and lovingly asked:

"Why do you so quickly take back that which you have just entrusted to Me?"

Friend, we need only to leave the challenges of life there – with Him; oh, and the backpack too!

"Come to me all you are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." - Matthew 11:28-29

Excerpt; “Wise Up, O Man of God” – Laurie De Seguirant

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Getting Your "ASK" In Gear

“You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” - James 4:2, 3 New International Version

Amazingly, we often do not have what it is we desire simply because we do not ask it of God. Why don’t we?

First, asking requires communication. How is your prayer life? Perhaps the only time we DO knock on the gates of heaven is when we desperately want something. Our lack of communication [therefore] conjures within our mind’s eye a picture of God answering our prayer like the proverbial Jewish granny: “HOW COME IT IZ, YOUZ NEVA COLL?”

“And whatever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” – 1 John 3:22

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. In this is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples.” – John 15:7, 8

“I cried unto Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, who hath not turned away my prayer or His mercy from me.”
– Psalms 66: 17-20

There are hundreds upon hundreds of commentaries and books written analyzing prayer. It has been defined, dissected, conjugated, correlated, parsed and pureed! Hours upon hours have been dedicated to explaining that which should be the simplest most compelling desire for any child of God; that is to have at our immediate disposal the ability and authority to cry out, “Abba, Father!”

Prayer, communication with Almighty GOD, is most vital part of our daily lives! We simply do not realize Who it is to Whom we have access. Almighty God!

The elements of prayer are important, however, just as a child begins to speak, just as they say their first words; in those moments, and in the daily moments that continue from that time, communication is established and becomes natural. Likewise, our loving Father thrills at those first words! He so desires to communicate and to bless! He desires so close a relationship with His children, so open, so natural that the very blessings He is already anxious to give are those requests upon His children’s lips.

My friend, I fear that all too often the lists of theological requirements for establishing communication with our Father are the very lists that cause us to recoil from initiating prayer. We focus upon our lack of faith, our sinfulness, our pride and we reason the impossibility of ever truly communicating with our Father.

It is time to take our prayer life out of neutral and GET OUR “ASK” IN GEAR! Celebrate it! By the very fact that you are reading this today, God is reaching out – He initiates the call and you can hear it ringing in your heart. Answer His call.

Perhaps it is the first time you have ever heard the ringing in your heart. Perhaps this is His call, introducing Himself through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Perhaps He calls to offer you the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), answer it today by opening your heart to Jesus finished work on Calvary, releasing your life to Him and His care.

Perhaps you simply have never started that true communication with our Father. Sure, you’ve prayed but not the fervent effectual prayer (James 5:16) that availeth much. It might be time for you to say your first words, “Abba”. Interesting, isn’t it? The word means, “daddy”.

Yes, it is time we all get our ASK in gear and willingly serve one another, love one another, forgive one another. It is time to be on the move – doing whatever it is that the Father puts before us to experience and accomplish and to enjoy. That’s right; TO ENJOY!

“Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and the door will be opened to you. For every one who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking it will be opened. [Think about it:] Or what man is there of you, if his son asks him for a loaf of bread, will hand him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will hand him a serpent? If you then, evil as you are, knowing how to give good and advantageous gifts to you children, HOW MUCH MORE WILL YOU FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN [perfect as He is] GIVE GOOD AND ADVANTAGEOUS THINGS TO THOSE WHO KEEP ON ASKING?” - Matthew 7: 7-11

Finally, let us remember Spurgeon’s words on this God who answers prayer; “There is always an open ear if you have an open mouth. There is always a ready hand if you have a ready heart. You have but to cry and the Lord hears; nay, before you call, He will answer, and while you are speaking He will hear.”

God bless you today and all your days that follow as you communicate with Him!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Right Place at the Right Time

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
“It’s being in the right place at the right time.”

Excuses or truths?

Think about it for a moment. We’ve all heard these phrases; maybe even said them ourselves. But do we really believe them; really?

I do. I know that may surprise you - but I most certainly DO! What’s more, I believe there is Biblical proof to support them.

“This is Eternal Life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent."
- John 17:3

"…. So that you may know and believe Me (God), and understand that I am He." - Isaiah 43:10

"Teach me your ways so that I may know you and continue in your favor." - Exodus 33:13

It most certainly IS WHO you know. The key is truly desiring His will for your life, not your own. When we truly want His will, He has a wonderful way of shaping our will to conform to His. He will always do so in the right place and precisely at the right time...

“Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart” – Psalm 37:4

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5,6

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13,14

“And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” – Galatians 6:9,10

It’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know.
It’s being in the right place at the right time – His place in His time. There is a catch however, you must be on the move – all the time!

GST! God’s Standard Time – make it yours starting today!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Buying the Lumber

"Do not count your chickens before they are hatched." - Aesop; 570 BC

The Story behind It: This saying occurs in the fable "The Milkmaid and Her Pail." Patty, a farmer's daughter, is daydreaming as she walks to town with a pail of milk balanced on her head. Her thoughts: "The milk in this pail will provide me with cream, which I will make into butter, which I will sell in the market, and buy a dozen eggs, which will hatch into chickens, which will lay more eggs, and soon I shall have a large poultry yard. I'll sell some of the fowls and buy myself a handsome new gown and go to the fair, and when the young fellows try to make love to me, I'll toss my head and pass them by." At that moment, Patty tossed her head and lost the pail full of milk. Her mother admonished, "Do not count your chickens before they are hatched."

It gives me a sense of normalcy when I read that 570 before Christ there were dreamers!

"Do not count your chickens before they are hatched."

My library is filled with positive mental attitude books. The Magic of Believing – Claude M. Bristol; How To Stop Worrying And Start Living – Dale Carnegie; You Can Work Your Own Miracles – Napoleon Hill; As A Man Thinketh – James Allen; Success! The Glenn Bland Method; The Magic of Thinking Big – Dr. David J. Schwartz; Hung by the Tongue – Francis P. Martin; Acres of Diamonds – Russell H. Conwell; The Greatest Miracle in the World, The Greatest Secret in the World, The University of Success – Og Mandino. This is just to name a few on the top shelf!

Dreamer you’re Honor? Guilty as charged!

The greatest book that sits upon my shelf is my Bible. There is no original thought of value that was not first given by God. We may rearrange the words, make practical-timely applications, include pithy statements or word pictures to better communicate a thought, but if it is good for the mind and soul, its origin is with the Creator.

"Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it (the heart) are found the issues of life. For as a man thinketh in his heart so is he." - Proverbs 4:23, Proverbs 23:7

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." - Matthew 5:16

A positive attitude is not fearful because it will help us to trust in the living God. For an illustrate, the disciples were fearful upon the sea of Galilee.

"And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the wavers: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuke the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marveled, saying What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him". - Matthew 8:23-27

A positive attitude is not skeptical because it will help us to rely upon God. For instance, Paul was not skeptical of those things which he believed.

"For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." - 2 Timothy 1:11-12

James Allen concludes his book, “As A Man Thinketh” as follows:

“Yes, humanity surges with uncontrolled passion, is tumultuous with ungoverned grief, is blown about by anxiety and doubt. Only the wise man, only he whose thoughts are controlled and purified, makes the winds and the storms of the soul obey him. Tempest-tossed souls, wherever ye may be, under whatsoever conditions ye may live, know this – in the ocean of life the isles of Blessedness are smiling, and the sunny shore of your ideal awaits your coming. Keep your hand firmly upon the helm of thought. In the bark of your soul reclines the commanding Master; He does but sleep; wake Him. Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery; Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, ‘Peace, be still!’”

When within your heart lays the unquenchable burning desire to accomplish some great task, though others call you a fool - and circumstances would sound “retreat”, when you feel alone and misunderstood and are humbled by the enormity of your dreams, PRESS ON! If your heart burns with an unselfish desire to be all that God has intended you to be, PRESS ON! Dream, believe, become!

I may not count my chickens before they are hatched – but by God’s grace, I’m buying the lumber to build the coop!

God bless!