Saturday, January 11, 2014

Seed In Your Hand

Today’s Bible readings are Genesis 24:52-26:16, Matthew 8:18-34, Psalm 10:1-15, 7 Proverbs 3:7-8

Genesis 26:1
A severe famine now struck the land, as had happened before in Abraham’s time. So Isaac moved to Gerar, where Abimelech, king of the Philistines, lived.

Genesis 26:12

12 When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the Lord blessed him.

What a picture of the difference it makes to have the favor of God on your life. Here is a famine unlike any that has ever occurred since the early days of Abraham. There was great need in the land. People were starving everywhere. Families were trying to figure out how to survive. Things were definitely tough to say the least.

Imagine everybody planting seed & getting only a very small return on their harvest. Then in the midst of all this, there is a man who is blessed beyond even the greatest year of any harvest. That is what happened in the life of Jacob.

It must have caused people to look at him in envy. But the great thing is that people knew the reason that he was so blessed was because of his God. They remembered his father Abraham & how he walked in fellowship with God. They knew that Abraham was a friend of God & now they see the blessing of God continued in Isaac’s life. What a testimony of God’s goodness.

Let me point the conversation to our lives. Just think for a moment about all the great blessings in your life as a result of your relationship with Jesus. It is important for us to remind ourselves the God is the giver of good gifts. He will always get to us the things that we need.

We live in some difficult times. There is no doubt economic strain in our country today. People hear all the talk about difficult days ahead & it often puts them in fear mode. Even Christians begin to tighten the purse strings & give less. They can begin to think that they need to cut back in their giving so that they can survive. This usually comes in the form of not giving to missions & not tithing. The enemy convinces them that they must hang on to what is in their hands so they can survive.

I want to remind you of the very basis principles of the Law of the Harvest.
1.     Your harvest is directly connected to your seed.
Isaac easily could have withheld his seed so that they would have grain to eat but he understood that the only way to be able to believe for a harvest is to get seed in the ground. It is a known fact that if you don’t plant you won’t reap. Isaac went out & sowed seed. He therefore gave God an avenue to bless him.

I’m sure that there may have been some concern that year when he planted. There were probably some who told him not to bother. There will always be some naysayers in the bunch. Get away from them. If you give your ear to them you will surely be paralyzed in your faith.

2.     Let go of what is in your hand.
This is the place where faith is required. It is easy to trust in what we have. To let go of it is a risk. Our natural response is that if we sow we won’t have anything left. That is true in the world’s economy but it is not true in the Kingdom’s economy. Remember, what you have in your hand is your seed. God gives seed to the sower. Don’t be afraid to sow!

3.     Your harvest rests in the hands of a faithful God.
Nobody else was blessed the way that Isaac was that year. I am confident that he was not the only one to sow that year but he is the only one mentioned as receiving a 100 fold harvest. That is the favor of God.

God is not limited by the world’s economy. Recession does not affect Him. HIS ECONOMY HAS NEVER SEEN A RECESSION. That is why we want to make sure that we stay in His economy by yielding in faith to the principals that govern it.

2 Corinthians 9:6-10

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
    Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

This is God’s promise to us. Let’s live life like we believe it!


Pastor Richard

Friday, January 10, 2014

I Will

Today’s Bible readings are Genesis 23:1-24:51, Matthew 8:1-17, Psalm 9:13-20, & Proverbs 3:1-6

In today’s reading of the gospel of Matthew, there were 2 words that kept jumping out of the bible at me. They are 2 words that once you hear will change your life forever. It will settle forever the one thing that keeps so many of us from receiving from God. Do you want to know the words? “I will”

Matthew 8:1-3
Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”
Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.

Much like then, the enemy still attempts to make people think that God does not want us well. As the enemy brings affliction to people, he brings with it the thoughts, “You deserve this.” He also suggests that, “If God really wanted to help you, He would have already.”

These things, added to the weight of the affliction, can beat a person down to a place of wondering if God really wants to help. Over time a person will begin to agree with the lies of satan. Remember, agreement is the place of power. They will begin to say in their mind & heart the very lies that satan has suggested to them. Often, this causes the person to forfeit want God so desperately desires them to have—LIFE.

Just a few verses after these & we see the passionate desire of Jesus to get to those that are in need of a miracle.

Matthew 8:5-7

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”
Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”

Again, this reveals the heart of our Savior. He says, “I will.”
1.      Bless you.
2.      Heal you.
3.      Forgive you.
4.      Strengthen you.
5.      Use you.
6.      Save your family.
7.      Fill you with My Spirit.

How much has the enemy robbed from you by getting you to let go of the things that Jesus is saying, “I will” to?

This is where faith comes into play. We have to walk by faith. Even if things don’t happen at the rate of speed that we think they should, it doesn’t mean, “He won’t”. In fact, faith truly lives as though, “He already has” even when it doesn’t yet see it in the natural realm.

Hebrews 11:13-14

13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own.

I have learned to NEVER question the integrity of God’s Word or what He says He is Going to do. The heart of Jesus is “I WILL.” Let that sink into your heart today. Try to stop focusing on the “WHEN” & start meditating on the “I WILL.”

Focusing on the “WHEN” produces doubt, unbelief, resentment, & anger; focusing on the “I WILL” produces patience, peace, hope, & trust. Which do you want in your life?


Pastor Richard

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Will You Pray?

Today's bible readings are Genesis 20:1-22:24, Matthew 7:15-29, Psalm 9:1-12, & Proverbs 2:16-22

I talked with a lady on the phone yesterday who was struggling with things that were happening in her son’s life. She was consumed by the situation & was looking for someone to give her hope. I had never met this lady before but she knew I was a pastor so she called to get some pastoral advice.

During the course of our conversation I asked her what she thought about prayer. I don't know if she was ready for a question like that but it is the one the Spirit told me to ask her. I then proceeded to tell her what God's Word says about prayer.

In one of our readings today we see the impact that prayer can have when a Christian does it.

Genesis 20:17
17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants, so they could have children.

Abimelech represent so many people that we come into contact with on a daily basis. He was experiencing death in his life because he was far from God. He was as lost as a person could be.
Even though he was a king who appeared to have it all together, he didn’t have the most important thing—a heart connection with God.  He was surely going to die, as well as, his family & servants.
But then we see what the prayers of a righteous man can do. Abraham prayed & the hand f God touched & healed Abimelech & his household. As a result of Abraham standing the gap for a people who knew not God, they were saved.

What a beautiful picture that should move us all to pray for those that are lost. God is looking for people just like Abraham who will see the sin sickness in the lives of lost people & be moved to a place of prayer.

It is easy to complain & gossip about things. It is much more difficult to actually do something to help the matter & pray. Gossiping about a person or devouring others with our words has never accomplished God’s will for the situation BUT PRAYER HAS EVERY TIME!

I want to challenge you right now to stop & pray about that situation that has you frustrated. How about that person that you know who is really hurting? What about that co-worker who is going through a divorce? How about that family member who is drinking again?

1.     Who do you know of that desperately needs a miracle?
2.     Are there any people that come to mind that you know do not have a relationship with Jesus?
3.     What situations can you think of right now that only God can change?

PRAY!    PRAY!!    PRAY!!!

Why should we pray?

  1. It is our duty. (Matt. 6:5)
  2. Why not pray? (Phil. 4:6)
  3. Prayer makes things happen. (James 5:16)
  4. If we don't pray nobody will. (Eze. 22:30)
  5. God is waiting for us to pray. (2 Chron. 7:14)
I believe that it is time for the church to start praying God-sized prayers. That is when we will see God-sized results. I double dare you to take off the restraints & pray like anything can happen. Start dreaming big & praying bigger! Then, sit back & watch the greatness of our God!!!


Pastor Richard

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Teaching Our Family To Follow God

Today's Bible readings are Genesis 18:16-19:38, Matthew 6:25-7:14, Psalms 8:1-9, & Proverbs 2:6-15

I love how God's Word reveals to us the things that are important to Him. I have said before that the best way to know God's will is to know God's Word. His Word is His will revealed. 

In today's readings we see a verse that reveals to us God's will for parents.

Genesis 18:19

19 I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.”

God desires for us to raise our families to know Him & follow His ways. In our culture their are many who say that we are evolving & that some things, like traditional marriage, sexual purity, modesty, & conservative christian values are "old fashion". I like to say in response to this that they are not old fashion they are "GOD-fashioned". It is the way He has set forth in His Word.

There are many things that we are up against today when it comes to raising our children. The pressure of people around us, media, & agenda's of special interest groups that have infiltrated our education system are just to name a few. These things make it difficult to impart the values that this next generation is lacking BUT I'm encouraged when I read today's reading.

During the day of Abraham there was great wickedness as well. Sodom & Gomorrah were very wicked cities that practiced many of the perverse ways that are openly practiced today. Homosexuality, sexual looseness, & things of the like were very common & socially accepted in their culture.

I want to say first off that these behaviors WERE NOT ACCEPTABLE TO GOD! That is why He destroyed the city. God never changes. That means that regardless of popular opinion, these behaviors are not acceptable to God today either!

Yet, we see that God fully expected Abraham to raise his family to know the ways of the Lord. AND ABRAHAM DID!  He was successful at it in a time when the culture was perverted in many of the same ways that our culture is today. That gives me great hope. If Abraham did it in his day then we can do it in ours.
Let's look at some things that we can start doing today to help teach our families that ways of the Lord.

1. Find a Spirit-filled church & take your family there EVERY week--even during the summer.

Don't be one of those guys that send your kids to church. TAKE THEM! Let them see the excitement in your eyes as they witness you worship God. Let them see you with your arms raised praise the God of the universe. Don't just expect them to learn something that doesn't appear to be important to you.

Some dads spend more time trying to teach their kids how to hit a baseball than they do trying to teach their kids to know & love God. Don't make that mistake. It is great that their are people to help in this process but nobody can teach your kids as well as YOU can teach your kids. Believe that!

2. Pray with your kids.

I'm not talking about the "now I lay me down to sleep" stuff. When a kid is having a struggle, direct them to God. They will never forget the time they were having pressures come & you told them, "Let's pray."

When people are sick, pray with your kids for them. Let them see you turning God for help in times of need. Just as important is to let them see you celebrate each victory that God gives. Don't hold back in giving God glory.

3. Make them read the bible.

It is not a matter of choice. You make your kids go to school. You make them make their bed. You make them pick up their dirty clothes. Reading the bible is far more important than any of those. It will also do more for them in their lives than any of these needed skills, as well. They may not like you for it at the time, but understand that they don't need you to be their friend. They need you be their parent.

4. Use regular, daily situations to teach God's values.

When you see someone in need let your kids witness you helping the individual. Explain to them why. Have them work with you. Never underestimate the power of a teachable moment.

Our kids are watching us. They will model what they see in us. Even during the seasons of rebellion you must remember that you are sowing seed that WILL PRODUCE a harvest. Never give up.

It was through the life of faithful Abraham that a lineage was persevered for the coming Messiah. Messiah will come again & there needs to be individuals to hold the standard & teach others to know the ways of the Lord until that great day arrives. You have His Word & His Spirit to empower & enable you for the task. Rise to the charge & be the salt of the earth!

Pastor Richard