Jealous Much?

Psalm 73: 1 – 3

No one can deny it—God is really good to Israel and to all those with pure hearts. But I nearly missed seeing it for myself. Here’s my story: I narrowly missed losing it all. I was stumbling over what I saw with the wicked. For when I saw the boasters with such wealth and prosperity, I became jealous over their smug security.

I remember well tripping over my sense of injustice at the financial success of the unrighteous. Was I envious? Yes, and outraged. It seemed wrong to me that people who were not blessing God, were not kind and were not gracious to others should reap financial blessing while the Godly suffered lack. Truth be told, sometimes I am still bothered but I remember this, God is not mocked. As you sow, so shall you reap (Galatians 6: 7) and I have seen this to be true.

God is good to us, as the scripture says, and He is a rewarder of faith and of all who seek him. And the truth about seed is that it will produce a harvest. It always does. So, those who sow good seed reap a harvest of good. However, the harvest is not always financial. Usually you reap in kind. Tomato seeds produce tomatoes, not cucumbers so if you want cucumbers, sow cucumber seeds. Those who reap financially may be reaping other harvests they don’t desire but they know and understand how to sow for financial gain. Others reap great relationships, peace, etc. but don’t enjoy the same financial success. That does not mean they are not successful. Their success is just in a different area. Those who are smug and arrogant about their financial fortunes often fail tragically in other areas.

We certainly should not envy them because we don’t know what they have done to build their financial well-being. They may have done work or spent hours that other people are unwilling to do. Instead of jealousy, we should seek the Father asking Him to teach us. Whatever area of our lives is missing being jealous of someone else is not going to improve it. Those people may or may not have their lives together in other areas so we may not truly want their lives. The God of the harvest has taught that we can have what we ask for and we know if others are being successful, then we can too. So, really, we should be glad when someone shows us what is possible. Then we can seek God and ask Him to show us the way.

Bad Seed

Job 4: 8

According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it.

According to what I have seen, this verse is true, alarmingly true. Sometimes when bad things happen it is, unfortunately, because we have sown bad seed. It is almost frightening at times to think about what kind of seed we might have in the ground. Whatever we have sown will produce a harvest. Galatians 6: 7 couldn’t be more clear, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” This may sound like pretty bad news but we have heard that the Gospel is supposed to be good news, so, how can this verse inform our lives for the positive?

First, if you are living in a deluge of bad things happening, frustrations and just generally unsettled waters, inquire of the Lord if any of it is the harvest of seed you have sown. We certainly don’t want to hear God tell us, “yes,” but even if He does, at least we can develop a strategy for overcoming it. Remember that Jesus made us overcomers. If the answer is yes, there is an answer because Jesus made a way for us. You can ask your Father what the seed was, and then it is as simple as repenting. What is repentance? It is a change of direction, a change of heart, a change of mind. If you will just tell God with a sincere heart that you are sorry and that is not what you want for your life He will shower you with the fruit of His forgiveness.

Next, ask Him to redeem the bad seed. Ask Him to kill it at the root. You can also ask Him to reveal to you any other bad seed and the two of you can uproot it. You do not have to live with the produce of your errors but you do have to be sincere about your change of direction if you want Dad to destroy the bad crop.

Look, everyone makes mistakes and we are all learning and growing. Sometimes we let that old dead man out of his grave and he always sows bad seed. No worries. Jesus is the master gardener. Humbly ask him to help you and he will hoe new ground shoulder to shoulder with you.

Lastly, if you are sowing discord, grief, or any negativity into the lives of others, please be advised. It is going to come back to you. And the great and horrible thing about a seed is that it produces much more harvest than its size. There is forgiveness for this but you need the help of the Father. Humility and honesty will avail much. Prostrate your ego at the feet of Jesus and he will help you.

The First Law

Galatians 6: 7

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

We have the power to improve the quality of our lives. When we know and follow spiritual laws we find increasing success and happiness. The lead shot manufacturers from yesterday’s Word of the Day employed the physical laws of the earth in order to create a needed product. We can create the same kind of success by employing spiritual laws.

Today’s verse reveals one of those spiritual laws. It is called the law of sowing and reaping. Yesterday I said that it is the preeminent law. Why do I say that? Jesus intimated to his disciples that if they could not understand the parable of the sower and the seed then they could not understand any of the parables (Mark 4: 13). Besides this statement, twice Jesus compared the kingdom of God to seed being sown (v. 26 & 30). In other words, if we cannot understand the parable of the sower then we cannot understand anything about the kingdom of God. This principle of sowing and reaping is how the kingdom of God works. That is why it is so important that we recognize it and employ it. It is not necessary that we understand how it works, only that we apply it.

In Galatians 6: 7 Paul was writing specifically about money. In context he was speaking about giving good things to those who teach us the word (Galatians 6: 6). The principle of sowing and reaping, though, applies to all things. In Matthew 7, verse 1 Jesus is quoted saying, “Do not judge lest you be judged.” Why is this so? Because as you sow, so shall you reap. If you sow judgement, judgment you will reap. If you sow bitterness, bitterness you will reap. No matter what you sow, that you shall reap and more besides because one thing we know about seeds is that they produce much more fruit than is represented by their size and number.

Another truth which supports this proposition is Genesis 1: 12 which reads, “The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind”. That is to say that the fruit yield is representative of the seed sown. The seeds produce according to their own kind such that whatever you sow is what you reap. Agriculturally we wouldn’t expect to plant cucumber seeds and get tomatoes. It just doesn’t happen.

The same is true in our lives. We cannot sow discord and reap harmony. We will not reap love and respect if we sow criticism, judgment and backbiting. It just isn’t ever going to happen. Jesus taught that we could know people by their fruit (Matthew 7: 16 & 20). A good tree, he said, does not produce bad fruit and vice versa. The fruit will demonstrate what kind of seed they have sown. Jesus is talking about the harvest and the harvest is always a product of the seed. Knowing this, we can predetermine the crop which is produced in our lives by planting the correct seeds.

This is the first law of spiritual physics. Harvests are determined by seeds. Therefore, we can cultivate our crop of choice by first planting the right seeds. Understanding that the kingdom of God’s first law is sowing and reaping should help us all to live a more enlightened and fruitful life. Be blessed my beloved.

No Cause for Stumbling

Psalm 73: 2 – 5, 12

But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling; my steps had almost slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant, as I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 For there are no pains in their death; and their body is fat. 5 They are not in trouble as other men; nor are they plagued like mankind. 12 Behold, these are the wicked; and always at ease, they have increased in wealth.

I suppose most dedicated Christians have almost stumbled over this stone at some time or another. You dedicate yourself and your life to the Lord and you fully expect that you will fare well in your service to Him. The next thing you know, you look around you and it seems the heathen are succeeding while the Christians are suffering.  

Well, don’t lose hope if that is where you are now. It is only an appearance. When you read this passage in its entirety, you see that the wicked get the fruit of the seed they have planted. The good news is that you will reap the fruit of your good seed as well. While it looks for a while like the good guys are losing, it is just an illusion. The universe produces fruit after its own kind. You cannot sow broccoli and get tomatoes. Galatians 6: 7 reads, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” The wicked will fall and you will succeed if you do not faint. Do not envy their success because it is short lived and laden with sorrow and pitfalls. Do not stumble over the apparent success of the unbelieving. God is faithful. Hang in there.

Out Blessed

Galatians 6: 7

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

We have all heard the expression “Give and take”. It is particularly used to describe relationships. Well, I would like to coin a new phrase today. I want you to enjoy “give and give” relationships because this, I believe, is the Christian model.

I recently went on a camping trip where I got to renew old acquaintances and meet some great new people and it is from these folks that this idea has arisen in my consciousness. Let me begin with a little story which I believe will demonstrate why this idea of give-give has become prominent in my thinking. 

The first day there I met this lovely couple, Sally and Chad. There was an instant connection with them as we all paddled on the lake and talked about the Lord. That evening, everyone got together at our campsite. Well, I had just brewed a cup of tea when Sally and Chad arrived. We got to talking about tea and I told them about how I had discovered this brew (Good Earth Original Tea) in La Jolla, CA back when I lived in San Diego. We discovered that we shared a common interest. I offered them to smell or taste my tea and they both thought it smelled good so I made each of them a cup of tea. While we sat under the evening sky enjoying our Good Earth Tea (how appropriate) we discovered another tea connection. It turns out that they drink P.G. Tips which is an English blend. I was amazed to hear that someone else knew about P.G. Tips tea much less drinks it and I told them about my dear friend who is part British and about the Christmas she gave me a box of P.G. Tips. They could really appreciate how special that tea was for me and we really enjoyed talking and sharing.

Well, the evening went on, the weekend went on. It was a delight getting to know them a bit and we certainly enjoyed each other’s company. On Tuesday we all had to pack up and get out of the campsite before 11:00 but before Sally and Chad left Sally came down to say, “Good-bye.” That alone was a very nice gesture but before she left she handed me a Ziploc bag. You guessed it! It was full of P.G. Tips tea bags, thanks to which I am enjoying a beautiful cup of tea right now. I was very blessed by their kind thoughtfulness.  

Now, a bag of tea may not seem like a big deal but, honestly, it was the heart gesture involved. They sought to bless me, and they succeeded. It was the spirit behind the gift that was so loud and so precious. May I say it? It was love. They were moved by that spirit of love within them that seeks to honor and bless others and this couple just knows how to cooperate with the kind intentions of God’s soul. They have merged with the Spirit of love so they know how to be a blessing. Not only that but they actually strive and attempt to bless others. And I know other people who have accepted this mantle from Jesus and I must say they are an inspiration to me.

So now what do we think of this new relationship with Sally and Chad? Upon what is it based? I brewed them one little cup of tea each and the next thing I know they have out given me, out blessed me. It is almost like poker – they saw my two tea bags and raised me a whole bag. But wait, it ain’t over yet because this relationship is based on mutual blessing. It is a give – give relationship. So what does that mean? This weekend I am going to Trader Joe’s hoping to find Good Earth brand tea and when I do I am going to buy a whole box and send it to them. You see, it was completely my pleasure in the first place to share my tea with them. It gave me joy to do that for them. And they certainly did not need to reciprocate in any way nor was their gift to me a payback, because they didn’t owe me anything. They just sought to bless me and they did. Well, now I am hoping to bless them by surprising them with some Good Earth Tea. So, all you folks who know Sally and Chad keep this under your hat.

I want for you to have relationships that are based on mutual blessing. When we give ourselves to the life of Christ within us this sort of generosity and kindness ought to come bubbling up out of us and we ought to connect with others on this level. When you find people who are walking in the love of Christ I hope that you will hang on to them and let your relationships form around that kind, gentle and generous spirit who is Jesus, our Lord and who lives within each of us. When Jesus is the focal point, then abundance, prosperity and kindness will always be the fruits. Develop Give – Give relationships. Let each of you be selfless and honor one another in love. It is a great way to live and part of that abundant life that Jesus intended for you. Demand and expect for all of your Christian relationships to show this kind of grace and maturity which comes from a life surrendered to Christ. And, in the name of Jesus, Be Blessed even as you are a blessing!