Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Eating Seeds That Are Meant to Be Planted

I don't really even know how to begin this post. I am absolutely overwhelmed by God's goodness and faithfulness, and how He uses those around me and resources around me to continuously reveal Truth!

I have been slowly but surely working through Beth Moore's "Stepping Up" study. And God continues to use it to speak Truth over various areas in my life right now. And today was no exception.

The lesson I went through today focused on God's faithfulness. The illustration she used was one I am sure most of us have heard many times, about seeds being planted. But God used that to speak to my heart in great ways this morning.

Looking at Luke 8:11-15, we see that the seed is God's Word, and there are many different places that seed falls. Some nurture these seeds and others, destroy them. This is a great truth and one that many of us have heard, but what hit me was the story that Beth shared next. She tells about a trip she and her husband took to Africa and the absolute devastation that they saw related to malnutrition. At one point in the journey, their guide told them that one of the most frustrating things is that in some of the villages the people are given seeds to plant and grow food so that they can survive, but instead of planting these seeds, they eat them. Planting the seeds would mean they could have food that they so desperately need, but instead they eat the seeds on the spot.

That is an interesting story, but here is the application she drew to our lives. Many times we hear God's Word and it satisfies us instantly, but we don't apply it to our daily lives. We hear teachers, leaders, and pastors speak amazing truth from God's Word and instead of looking at how we can apply that truth to our life, we simply take it at face value and go on about our way. Then as we go through our week, we wonder why our lives don't have the freedom that we hear comes from being a Christ follower. Why are we not having a bigger influence on our family and friends? Why are we still struggling and not experiencing the victory God promises in His word?

It is the same reason that my flowers did not grow this summer...

When we bought our house I was so excited! It is our own place! If I want to paint I can paint, if I want to plant flowers I can plant flowers - and I even have the most perfect window boxes to plant them in! It's great! I was so excited! And in my excitement, decided that I was going to plant seeds in those window boxes that would grow into beautiful flowers!! Great in theory, but unfortunately I didn't take LIFE into consideration. Seeds need nurturing, I have always been pretty good with plants and I thought this would be no big deal! But at the time I was teaching in Shelbyville still so I was only at the house on Wednesday nights when I drove up after school and over the weekends. And while I was gone, Zeke was too busy to care for flowers, so a lack of nurturing lead to the death of these seeds.

The problem really boils down to the fact that I expected growth to take place and transformation to occur with out a practical plan for how that was going to happen. I just assumed that it would happen without me really having to work at it. But, the heat of summer came, and instead of showering those plants with refreshing water daily (and really even multiple times a day at some points) there was no hope of survival.

Even more serious than flowers to decorate the outside of my house is that fact that many of us do the same thing with the Word of God. We hear great truth, but we never take the practical steps of applying it to our lives. It is great in theory to forgive those who hurt you, but what does that look like for my life today? It is great to want to know and meditate on God's word, but how does that become the reality of my life? These things don't just happen, just like flowers don't just grow in window boxes without someone taking the time and the practical steps to care for them.

We have to have faith (absolute trust that God will make it happen) and patience (understanding that He will make it happen in His timing and His way). These things won't grow in our lives overnight! And when the process does get long and we do start to grow weary we have to understand that the best option is not to simply dig the seed back up and start chewing on it or throw it out (Beth Moore), but that we continue on in faith and patience.


Show us how to plant seeds, not simply eat them. No matter how difficult our situation, continue to help us tend the seeds You've given us to plant.

11Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. 14And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. ~Luke 8:11-15

9And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up ~Galatians 6:9

12so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. ~Hebrews 6:12

Friday, September 24, 2010

Beth Moore Simulcast

Here is just a small glimpse of the Beth Moore Simulcast event our church was a part of last weekend. It was an amazing time of worship! God spoke through Beth in amazing ways about the law of kindness. I cannot wait to see how God continues to use what we learned that day to impact our lives, our church, our community, and the world!

"She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness."
~Proverbs 31:26

Kindness is not weakness. (Luke 6:35-36)

Kindness is not an action. It's a disposition.

Kindness wears down when we do. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Kindness looks pain in the face. (Job 6:28)

Kindness is a Savior. (Ephesians 2:4-10)

Kindness has good memory. (Psalm 106:7)

Kindness craves an outlet. (2 Samuel 9:1)

Kindness leaves a legacy. (Acts 28:1-2)

~Beth Moore

One of the things God has really impressed on my heart since last Saturday was this thought..."When we forget how God has been good to us, we become rebellious; We need to remember the goodness of God."

"I led them with cords of kindness,
with the bands of love,"
~Hosea 11:4

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sitting Through the Rain

Friday night I went to Smith County's away game. As I was watching the game and the people there God put this thought on my heart: Are we cheering our students on like this spiritually? Better yet, as the church are we cheering one another on like this spiritually?

I love going to these games, but that doesn't mean it is always an easy feat to get there. It costs me something to be a part of this. It took time, money, and determination to sit through the off and on rain for 2 hours cheering on the team, but it was worth it. Not worth it simply because of the victory that came at the end of the night because those victories are fleeting. Ten years from now very few will remember the score of that victory. But it was worth all that it cost because as a community of people we came together to cheer on our students in something that is important to them and therefore important to us.

The question is now, as a community of believers called the church, are we willing to put that same effort into cheering one another on toward the goal of Christ being known to all people? Just like cheering the team on, it is going to cost us something. It may cost us our time (which is God's anyway) volunteering in some area. It may cost us the money that we worked so hard to earn (which is God's anyway) to put towards something God has laid on our hearts. It might cost us determination to stick with it even when the rain comes pouring down around us.

So is it worth it to us? If something has value in our lives it doesn't matter what it may cost us, we are willing to be a part of it...so does the Gospel of Christ hold value in our lives? When it comes down to it, am I willing to spend time, money, and other resources (which God has given me anyway) to cheer on/encourage my brothers and sisters in making Christ known? Will I still be obedient and ultimately through my obedience be an encouragement to the church? I may say it is worth whatever the cost now, but when it really comes down to it, do I act on that? When it requires more of me than just showing up on Sunday morning, am I still going to be obedient? When I have to sacrifice, will it still be a worthy cause?

When He calls me to go, pay, and sit through the rain, will I still be obedient?

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25