Poured Out Like Water

I read Oswald Chambers “My Utmost for His Highest” daily.  There are many references in this year long daily devotional that refer to the Christian as being “broken bread and poured out wine”.  I have to admit that I don’t know that I am at the place yet in my Christian life where I know exactly what he is speaking about.  Oh, I believe there have been moments in my life that I have been so wholly surrendered to Christ that I understood at that moment.  Unfortunately, I cannot seem to keep myself in that total obedience that I desire and that my LORD desires of me.  The good thing is that He understands my faults and failures.

On my best day, my offering is substandard at the very least.  I wish that I could be more in tune and offer what pleases Him and quit pleasing me.  Yet, I keep ignoring the prompting of the Holy Spirit and do my own thing my own way.

One of my favorite passages of Scripture has become I Chronicles 11.  I love it because of the example of total surrender shown by three of David’s mighty men.  Look at one verse in I Chronicles 11:18, “And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the LORD,”  David had mentioned that he would like a drink of water from this particular well.  These three men put their lives on the line for their earthly king to get him water from the well.  Yet, David said this water was too costly just to drink it and satisfy himself.  He poured it out as a drink offering to the LORD.  Wow!

Dear reader, where are you in your relationship with the LORD?  Are you walking so closely with the LORD that you would respond in such a way as king David responded?  I want to think I am so super spiritual that I would do the same.  Right!  I know better.  I would have thrown that water down my throat so fast and then possibly thought about the offering.  Are you poured out like that water.  It is time for you and I to pour ourselves out as an offering to the LORD.

So, how are you doing?

We Must

Recently I had the pleasure of preaching at the mission as I do each fourth Friday of each month.  This month I was able to take my wife with me to play the piano and sing a couple of songs.  The men love to hear her play the piano and sing.  They are not alone on that one, for sure.

The chapel service was again unusual in a good way.  We did not see anyone trust Christ as their Saviour.  Most of the men came by and shook my hand after the service and thanked me for coming and for the message.  I heard in the distance as one man questioned my wife.  He asked, “Did your son help make the peanut butter cookies?”  My wife told him that our son had helped her make the cookies and had made the hash marks on the tops of them with a fork.  He told her to tell our son “thank you”.  That does something for a proud daddy like me.

I have assured these men that the only difference between them and me is that somewhere along the way they got caught and now they are living with the consequences of their decisions.  I do too.

After the service my wife asked if I had seen a post on social media that said the mission needed eggs.  I had not.  She looked at me as serious as she could and told me, “We have to do something.”  I told her that I did not know what we could do just us.  Well, you know what we did.  A close friend of ours gave us some money and we put some with it and we bought twenty-five (25) dozen eggs the next morning.  Instead of sleeping in we went shopping.  We took the eggs to the mission.  When we arrived I told the man in charge of the kitchen that we had twenty-five (25) dozen eggs he ran to our van with two other men with him to help us unload them.

As we left the mission that morning the tears of joy ran down my face like a river.  It felt good to help those men.  By the way, it takes twenty (20) dozen eggs for one breakfast there.  Even more than the warm feeling of helping these dear men was the feeling of pride that filled my heart and soul that my wife had such a burden to help those men and she made sure that it was done.  I thought about II Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:”  We tell these men each month that we love them.  This time we proved it.

So, how are you doing?

Farming 7

When I was growing up I wanted to be a farmer.  I thought this is what I would be.  Life soon changed my mind on that one.  In school I began to pursue business.  This was a huge flop too.  In the third grade I preached my first sermon in Miss Allen’s class.  It was horrible from what I can remember.  Thank God for His grace!

I believe it was D. L. Moody that had a young man in his office once and they looked out the window down to the street.  Moody asked this young man what he saw.  The young man described the scene to Moody.  Mr. Moody told this young man that when he looked down there he saw souls.  D. L. Moody had vision from God along with passion.

Far too man of God’s people lack this vision and passion.  People are dying and going to hell on a daily basis as we sit by in our comfortable houses, driving our comfortable cars and eating our comfortable food.  Christian, what are you going to do about it?  I pose this question to me as well as each of you.  What am I truly doing to point men, women, boys and girls to Jesus Christ for salvation?  Truthfully?

Look at what Jesus said in Luke 10:2, “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.”  It is time to get out of the house and get into the harvest.  Jesus is counting on you.

So, how are you doing?

Farming 6

This will be our last installment on farming for this go around.  As I was thinking again about driving the tractor the other day I keep going back to the finisher.  It is an effective piece of equipment.

The first section of the finisher are disks.  These cut up the leftover corn stalks or bean stalks.  This makes them smaller and easier for the planter to go through.  The next part are called shovels.  They break up the ground even more.  They are shaped like an arrow head and thus they really get things broken up.  Then the third part of the finisher are the rolling baskets.  They are a series of knives that are arranged horizontally in the shape of a circle.  As they rotate around they chop what the other two sections have broken up.  This leaves soil that is ready to be planted.

This brought my mind to the work of God the Holy Spirit.  He convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment.  Look at John 16:8, “and having come, He will convict the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment;”.  His ministry is to convict us to break up the fallow ground we looked at in the first installment of these posts.  He will cut, rip and chop what needs to be gotten out of our lives to make the ground of our hearts good ground to receive the seed of the Word of God.

Here is where the rub comes in.  You and I must yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit as He works in our lives.  If we will become sensitive to His promptings then it will be much easier for sure.

 

Farming 5

As we have looked at these truths over the past few days I want to move on to another one.  If we are going to have a crop we must sow good seed.  Look at Mark 4:14, “The sower soweth the word.”

As a farmer plants seed in the ground so we who are Christians should be sowing the seed of the Word of God.  I don’t mean we go around jamming the Word down people’s throat.  I mean we should share the Word when we have a chance.  We must be obviously Christian and not obnoxiously Christian.

There is nothing wrong with the seed because it is the Word of God.  We are to be the sowers and take it and broadcast it to everyone we come in contact with.  We need to share it with them so they can have the opportunity to come to put their faith in Jesus too.  That is our ministry.  We are Christian farmers so to speak.  We work together with our Father and Jesus Christ to win others.  We are used to sow the seed.  God uses someone else to water the seed and then someone else comes along and reaps the harvest of the labors of other Christians.  In some cases we are the one who God uses to plant, water and ultimately harvest and this is a real privilege.  We have to get busy though if we are going to reap the harvest.  Will you go?

So, how are you doing?

Farming 4

As we continue our thoughts on farming we will look at Matthew 13:23, “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

One thing that is important in farming is fruit of your labor.  I mean that is what farming is all about.  Well, the Christian life is much the same.  Before you tune me out give me a listen.

We all produce fruit no matter what.  We either produce good fruit or bad fruit.  Many times growing up I would grab an apple off a tree or something out of the garden only to spit and sputter like an engine that is out of tune.  Bad fruit is just that, bad.

What kind of fruit are you producing?  We must be careful when we define fruit too.  Some people have this idea that “Christian fruit” is winning souls.  This is partially true.  That is one part of fruit.  When we grow and change and become more like Jesus this is fruit too.  It is fruit of our study and time spent with Jesus.  We grow in His likeness.  When you look at me physically, you see my father.  When you look at me spiritually do you see my Heavenly Father?  Penetrating question.

So, how are you doing?

Farming 3

Yesterday we talked about getting the weeds out so that the Word of God can grow in our lives.  Today we need to look at another aspect of growth.  As Christians we need to be growing and changing spiritually.  If you are not growing then you are dead.  This applies physically and spiritually.

After the ground is broken up and the weeds are killed there must be something put into the soil to help the crops grow.  Chemicals that they need are added to the soil so that the crops can grow and produce the most “fruit”.  If you  grow corn then you want the most kernels as possible on each ear of corn and the most ears of corn possible.  If you grow soybeans then you want the most beans in the pod as possible and the most pods as possible.

In the life of the Christian we are commanded to grow.  Look at II Peter 3:18, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

Remember, if you are not growing then you are dead.

So, how are you doing?

Farming 2

Well, here we go again.  I have come to a subject that I love.  I grew up on the farm and I still would go back to it today as long as I could still preach and farm.  I love it!  Yesterday we looked at breaking up the fallow ground of our heart.  Today I would like to move on.

After the soil is broken up then there are usually chemicals applied.  This is to eliminate as many weeds as possible and to apply nutrients that the crops will need to grow strong and produce high amounts of grain.

There is no room for weeds in farming.  Last year I spent some time with a couple photographer friends and we were talking about photographing flowers and weeds.  One guy talked about photographing a milkweed.  The other guy piped up and said, “We spray for that.”  Well, that is the new catch phrase in our little circle.  “We spray for that.”

This is what you must do.  If you do not get the weeds out in farming it will cost when you sell the seed.  You are docked money for too many weeds in your load.  Weeds cost in life too.  Look at Matthew 13:22, “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.”  There it is, plain and simple.  You have to get the weeds out.  Remember, “We spray for that.”

So, how are you doing?

 

 

Farming 1

I love living in our part of the country.  I do admit that I would like to live in the UP of Michigan because of my love of lighthouses and fall foliage.

The other day I had the opportunity to go ride on the tractor with my cousin on their family farm.  I had the privilege of driving (it has been a few years since I was able to actually work ground.  After this wonderful time I began to muse on the experience.  My mind went to the parable of the soils (called the parable of the sower most often).  Then my mind went about one hundred miles per hour thinking about all the Biblical application of the different parts of farming.

As we drove over this field pulling a finisher I looked back occasionally to see what was happening.  I saw the ground being broken up and pulverized and prepared to receive the seed that will be brought in by the planter.

I thought of the Scriptures in Hosea 10:12, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”  Far too many of us are hardhearted.  God is trying to speak to us; but, we are not listening.  If we are going to have revival or live a life that is pleasing to God then we must allow God to take his spiritual finisher and run it over our hard hearts and “break up your fallow ground:”.

So, how are you doing?

The Next Day

I was at my cousin’s house the other day and we had a discussion about a quote.  Here it is (I think I remember it), “Humans can live 40 days without food, 4 days without water, 4 hours without oxygen; but, humans cannot live one second without hope.”  I do not know who originally said this to give credit.  I don’t think I quoted it totally correct; but, you get the meaning of it.

Hope is necessary to life.  If we lose hope then we will eventually lose everything.  I think this is the broad meaning of this quote.  I have thought a lot about Peter this year.  For some reason Mark 16:7, “But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.” keeps coming to my mind.  I believe it is because I so often fail the LORD and I need forgiveness and hope.  This verse to me just overflows with hope.

Peter failed Jesus greatly!  Well, wait just a minute before we go bashing Peter.  As I look at my life I see instances where my life has denied the LORD.  Maybe, when presented with the opportunity I have not said that I do not know Him; but, plenty of times my life has denied Him by my works.  This is just as bad to me.  So, I receive hope along with Peter in that passage in Mark 16:7, “But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.”  You can put your name there too.

So, how are you doing?