Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sowing in Tears, Reaping in Joy

"They who sow in tears shall reap in joy and singing" (Psalm 126:5)


Praise the Lord. This is a promise to those who are downhearted or struggling. I would read this verse and wonder how "sowing tears" would result in joy, but I believe I was misunderstanding the verse and not taking the time to understand the principle being taught.

The Bible actually says they who sow IN tears shall reap in joy and singing, meaning those who are faithful and sow, doing what is right and trusting God during hard times, though there may be tears, shall see a reward and have joy during the coming harvest.

It is a picture of a farmer who is planting seed and expecting a harvest of fruit. The sower does not see the harvest yet and is in tears because he is using some of his precious grain for seed. We need to be faithful during hard times and continue sowing, though you may be going through struggles, tears, trials and hardship, if we are faithful and stand on the Word, that seed will come back to us and we will reap in joy and singing.

The second part of the verse goes on to confirm this thought saying "He who goes forth bearing seed and weeping (at needing he precious supply of grain for sowing) shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him" (Psalm 126:6). 

Sowing in tears is an act of faith. We sow in faith, not seeing yet the desired result, but we "shall doubtless come again rejoicing." This isn't just with respects to finances, though it applies in the natural to giving and receiving, this has everything to do with sowing the Word of God in our hearts as revealed in Mark 4, the Parable of the Sower. We are to plant the Word in our hearts, and especially during hard times, so that we will have a good harvest from the Lord in due time. "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy and singing."

The prophet Habakkuk says it this way "Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, (though) the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the (victorious) God of my salvation. The Lord is my strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army. He makes my feet like hinds' feet and will make me to walk (not to stand still in terror, but to walk) and make (spiritual) progress upon my high places (of trouble, suffering or responsibility!" (Habukkuk  3:17-19).

"And this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Born Again

"Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit, in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, HAVING BEEN BORN AGAIN, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides forever..."(1 Peter 1:22-24).

God is calling on men and women to be born again in this time. It is a term that is sometimes misunderstood even by those in traditional Christian circles. The turning from dead works to serve the living God by receiving the implanted Word which is able to save our souls is not an optional aspect of Christianity. "Therefore lay aside all filthiness, and overflow of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21). We MUST be born again.

We all know the famous Scripture "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Not everyone knows, though, that this great truth is found during a discussion that Jesus had with Nicodemus, a Jewish teacher of the Old Testament, wherein Jesus begins by telling him that "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God" (John 3:3).  This is not just for Nicodemus, as we all fall under the category of "one". No "one" is exempt from this - not the religious, not the 'good man or woman', not the child who has grown up in the church and is now an adult. One must be born again. Jesus goes not to say "Do not marvel that I said to you, you must be born again" (John 3:7). It is not a strange thing to find out that we are all in need of salvation. We should not marvel or be offended or astounded at the fact that our own righteousness does not accomplish for us what only the shed blood of Jesus could accomplish.

We must know that there is salvation in no other name under heaven. We cannot be saved in the name of 'good works' or in the name of any organization such as those who trust in obedience and faithful service to even a church body or group to earn salvation. The start of the Christian walk begins when we hear the Word of God preached, the gospel and good news of our salvation and utter dependence on Jesus the Redeemer - and that Word is mixed with Faith in the heart of the hearer. As the book of Hebrews teaches, "For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard DID NOT PROFIT them, not being MIXED WITH FAITH in those who hear it. For WE WHO HAVE BELIEVED do enter that rest" (Hebrews 4:2-3). And again in Romans, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:9-10).

I love what Peter writes about being born again in the title verse at the beginning of this post. It reminds me of his own interaction with Jesus when the Truth of who Jesus is was revealed to his own heart and he proclaimed with his mouth "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father which is in heaven. And I also say unto you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church". "This rock" is the revelation of Jesus Christ in the heart of him who believes and will be Born Again by faith (trust, belief) in the Word of God concerning Jesus. The church cannot be built any other way, but by the revelation of Jesus in the hearts of men. Praise God.

The free opportunity exists at any point for any 'one' who would desire God to enter into a covenant relationship with Him by BELIEVING the Word of God and being Born Again - a new creation and a fresh start in the Lord - past sins forgiven and the life of God implanted in the heart. No other intermediary is needed - no man-made authority needs to confirm this act, for it is confirmed by the inner witness of the Holy Spirit.  Indeed "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Romans 8:16). Praise God!




Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Pure Milk of the Word

"Therefore laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious" (1 Peter 2:2).

Babies crave and desire their mother's milk like nothing else. It is the most important thing in the world to them, their lifeline and their singular focus.Without it they will not progress to life outside of the womb. In the same way once we are born again, we need to have a healthy appetite for God's Word, in reading the Bible (understanding it, believing it and responding to it), and listening to anointed preaching of God's Word. It goes beyond a simple additive to our existing diet of food - indeed, babies feed on nothing else. I think this is why it says to lay aside all these other things that we perhaps had treated as food for our souls, things such as malice, deceit, hypocrisy and evil speaking. We are to lay down these things which will not contribute to our healthy growth in the Lord and make our singular focus the nourishment that comes by feeding on His Word. 

This analogy is applicable to those who are born again. It speaks of newborn babies. It is essential that we are born again in order to receive from God. We cannot enter into His kingdom without first having been born again, the word will not profit us unless our spirits have been made new. However, this food will perfectly nourish the born again child of God.  As Jesus said, "....Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God" (John 3:3).  Being born again will open up the eyes of your spirit to see the goodness of God as He makes a 'new creation' out of you. "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new"(2 Corinthians 5:17).

There was a new addition to my family last week, a baby girl, and she has a healthy appetite for milk, and is eating, digesting and growing rapidly. It is fascinating to see her satisfied after a feeding, only to become hungry and agitated as time passes until the next time she can feast on her mother's milk. I can assure you that not only is she feeding on and taking in the milk, but she is digesting it as well. It does not remain in her long, but nourishes her and she requires another feeding before too long. We are like babies in that way. We can only go so long without feeding on the Word. Without regular meals from Him, our spirits become weak and we will stop growing in the Lord. If we go long enough our effective faith will dry up and become ineffective and inoperative. We must feed on the Word of God because "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).

The milk that is produced by a mother is perfectly formulated to satisfy the needs of her child. In the same way, the Word of God is perfectly formulated to meet our needs and satisfy our spirit, soul and body. "For He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness" (Psalm 107:9). The provision of God in His word to satisfy our souls is a tremendous blessing and an example of the 'gracious' character of God to care for and provide for those who call on Him. Praise the Lord.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Revival

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR; He has sent Me to HEAL THE BROKENHEARTED, To proclaim LIBERTY TO THE CAPTIVES and RECOVERY OF SIGHT to the blind, to SET AT LIBERTY those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." (Luke 4:18-19)

The words spoken by Jesus, quoting from the book of Isaiah, began the most powerful ministry that the earth had ever seen. As Jesus claimed the promise of God concerning His life, which was written centuries before in the book of Isaiah, the rivers of revival burst forth onto the scene. It is interesting that almost immediately following this declaration, that the people tried to kill Him. The devil did his best to try to thwart the coming revival, but was not able to. From that point forward, the book of Luke describes a constant state of Revival, with signs and wonders, the preaching of the Word and crowds and multitudes coming forward to experience the manifestation of the power of God.

I was reading through the book of Luke two weeks ago and the Spirit of God kept impressing upon my heart the word "REVIVAL", and that I should interpret the events of the book in the context of a massive outpouring of the power of God upon the people through the ministry of Jesus. That same Sunday the Pastor at church preached a message called "revival" and took us through the book of Luke - what an amazing confirmation of the Word of God to me!

As I read Luke, I was impressed by the fact that multitudes "pressed about Him to hear the Word of God" (Luke 5:1). Such, I believe, is the atmosphere during times of refreshing and great outpourings of the Spirit. The hunger will rise up within to "press in to the Word of God". Luke records that "the report about Him went out into every place in the surrounding region". There was a buzz, and an anticipation about the mighty works of God being done.

Luke goes on to record that "all those who had any that were sick with Various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them." Notice that during this mighty revival that took place in the ministry of Jesus that He laid His hands on EVERY ONE of them and healed them" (Luke 4:40). All who came to Him were touched by the power of God.

The thought occurred to me the other day that if we were to hear of a mighty revival or move of the Spirit of God in a far away place, we might be tempted to wonder why God is not moving that way here, right now. I have thought that at times, and been discouraged at not seeing the manifestation of the power of God as I believe is promised in the Bible. I believe that the Spirit of God impressed upon my heart that the God who causes revival to break forth in one region, is powerful enough to cause the same manifestation to break forth right here. In fact, God is powerful enough to cause the entire earth to be in revival at the same time - there are no limits to the power of God to move on the earth, but our faith. God is as big as the faith of the Church.

I listened to a radio preacher on the way to the train station last week who told his viewers not to expect the miracles of the gospels or the book of Acts to be a part of their Christian walk. The Bible couldn't disagree with him more!! 

The ministry of Jesus as outlined in the first verse I quoted was not meant to stop with Jesus. Jesus ministry in the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Church at Pentecost, and our mandate as the Body of Christ is to walk in the same power and authority as the Lord did when He was on the earth. In fact, Jesus Himself said that "he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father" (John 14:12).


The power of God to move in the world does not know any limits except what the Church is willing to believe and walk in. Let's take steps towards the coming move of God this week!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

You are Strong

"I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one" (1 John 1:14).

This verse is an excellent verse to confess over our lives. I believe that I am strong, that the word of God abides in me and I have overcome the wicked one. Even if the external evidence says that I'm actually weak, I am down and feeling defeated, I can by faith proclaim "I am strong, the Word of God abides in me and I have overcome the wicked one." It is through confessing the word of God over our lives that we can obtain the victory and grow in faith. The Bible says that "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God". The best way to hear the Word of God is when we speak it. It is one thing to read the word and to listen to the Word, but when we activate our faith by speaking what we believe, we can move a mountain of obstacles in our lives. Praise God. If we are weak, we should never be going around saying, "I just can't do this - I'm too weak". We should be building ourselves up on the inside by the Word and agreeing with the prophet Joel who said "let the weak say, I am strong" (Joel 3:10). Jesus said that "whoever says to this mountain, 'be removed and cast into the sea' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says" (Mark 11:23). 

This principle is active in our initial salvation, when we first come to God, and it is a the principle by which we receive all things from the Lord. Paul says in the book of Romans "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:9-10).

This is true for all the promises of God in Scripture. They are all available to us by faith. The greatest thing about this truth is that it is available to us all - we don't need to have a degree in theology to believe the Bible and to confess the promises of God, spurring us on to a victorious life.

So whatever need there is in our lives, let's find out what God has to say about it and instead of speaking sickness, lack, defeat, sorrow, pain or anything else that is not God's will, let's choose life and choose to speak the words of life and the words of truth over the situation. God will move - He will always honour His Word when faith is applied.  "So shall my Word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11). Praise the Lord!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Body and Blood

"Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.'" (Matthew 26:27-28).

Believers all over the world take communion regularly, remembering the new covenant in His blood. For many it is a religious observance, or a tradition that has become 'mystical' or 'spiritual' in a sense that it perhaps has lost practical significance in their lives. This observance has been commanded by the Lord for us to do to remember Him and to remember the new covenant of grace that we are in by faith in the broken body and blood. Taking part in this as an observance is meaningless without faith. As with anything with God, faith is the key, for we know that "without faith it is impossible to please God"(Hebrews 11:6). Without real Bible faith being enacted over everything we do, we are doing it in vain and it is not pleasing to God. We learn in Hebrews about Abel, who "by faith offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain" (Hebrews 11:4). Why was it more excellent? Because it was done in faith. It was not religious observance, but Abel came to God "believing that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). Praise God for that Truth.

There is great power in taking communion by faith. We can use communion as a 'faith point' for applying our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ into practical manifestation in our lives. What do I mean by this? I mean that if you are sick, take communion, stirring up your faith in the fact that Jesus bore sickness and pain on the cross for you and allow this to stir up your faith in the power of God to heal you. If you are doubting your salvation, take communion and allow it to impact your faith in the fact that there is a new covenant of grace that is not dependent on your works, but on your faith in the finished work of the cross. Are you needing deliverance from depression, or worry or fear, take communion and let the fact that Jesus has given us the victory over all the works of the enemy inspire you to have faith in the promises and victory to be had in God.

So let's take communion, even at home, during prayer times or times of Bible study so that we can proclaim our victory in the Lord. I believe that great deliverance is at hand when we do this. Take a look at Exodus chapter 12 this week and the sacrificial lamb that is so clearly a picture of Jesus and the power that it had to deliver the Israelites from bondage in Egypt. It is good to think of the power of this whenever we come to the communion table, remembering the power of the Blood of Christ to deliver and to set free. Praise God.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Praise and Prosperity

"Let All the peoples praise you. Then the earth shall yield her increase." Psalm 67:6

Oh that all the world would give praise, honor and glory to God that it might go well for them on the earth. God is good and is a bountiful provider to those who call on Him as their Father. He is God and He is worthy of our praise and honor.

I think that praise is misunderstood by many in the world. Many think that God resembles a selfish boss or some needy celebrity who is constantly demanding to be reassured of his goodness or is constantly needing to be catered to and fed to uphold his wicked pride. I sometimes think that people imagine God to be like an insecure young boy or girl who always wants to be told they are good looking, but never being able to stand secure in the way they look. God is just the opposite. He knows EXACTLY what He is like, and Praise puts us in line with the TRUTH about God.

In other words, Praising God is good for US, because it puts us in the right relation towards the Creator. It says out loud that God is God and we are His children and ACTIVATES AND CHARGES OUR FAITH. Praise changes us, changes our hearts and He knows that. He knows that we need to look to Him as our provider, our deliverer and healer. When we praise the Lord with our hearts and our lips, we surrender to His power, magnifying His strength and goodness - and empowering our own faith to receive from Him. It is important to remember that it is our faith that enables us to receive from God's grace. We must build up our faith by praising God and surrendering our hearts and mouths to the truth about God - that He is good, He is praiseworthy, and He is powerful and able to help in our times of need.


So praise God, and prosper. We should be careful to meditate and actively believe and put our faith in God and His promises so that we can receive from Him by faith. The Psalm goes on to say that "God, our own God, shall bless us". We can expect God to move on our behalf as we enter into times of praise and worship through praying, singing or just meditating on God's goodness. He wants us to prosper! Praise the Lord.