Enjoy a weekly devotional! These will update each week, but you can see what you’ve missed up to the past four weeks!!
In the middle of a wheat field there was this sign, “The harvest is great, the laborers are few and Jesus comes quickly.” The sign was true and thought worthy. The scripture speaking of the great harvest is found in Luke 2. Jesus compared a field of grain in need of being brought into the barns to people who need to be brought into the Kingdom. The B part of the sign declaring Jesus is coming quickly is in Revelation 22. With all the recent unrest and tragedies in the world, more and more people are declaring and believing that Jesus is coming very soon. People whose minds are usually far from thinking of Jesus’ return or anything about Him are thinking on Jesus. The few laborers now have an awesome opportunity to bring in a great harvest of lost, hurting people – people whose hearts and minds are ripe and ready to be filled with the Great News of how they can come to the Kingdom. An old hymn written in 1874 comes to mind titled Bringing in the Sheaves. The first stanza of the song speaks of sowing and waiting for the time of harvest and reaping. But the second stanza says this, “By and by the harvest, and the labor ended.” And of course the familiar, sometime missing chorus, “Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.” Someday, many believe soon, the harvest and labor will end. Jesus will be here. How many signs do we need? Let’s get busy and bring in the “sheaves” quickly before it’s too late.
The purpose of a thorn is to protect a plant from predators. When we attempt to pick a rose we are actually a predator of the plant; therefore we often get pricked. The reaction of most predators is “Ouch!” Can you imagine how a crown of thorns would feel pressed down on your head? Jesus had a crown of thorns pressed into His head before He was crucified. As painful as this was, He broke His silence only three times the first three hours that He hung on the cross. The three times Jesus spoke was for the purpose of relieving the pain of others, not His own. He asked for forgiveness for those who crucified Him, saved a thief, and assured that His mother would be cared for. In II Corinthians 12, Paul speaks of “a thorn” in his side. This thorn is not the kind that were platted together to make the crown for Jesus, nor the kind pricked out of our fingers on from a rose bush. This thorn that he asked God to remove three times is a weakness that Biblical scholars have often attempted to name. The identity of Paul’s thorn-his weakness is not recorded, but all the information we need to know about it is. God’s answer to Paul, “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” And Paul’s reaction, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” Can you say this today about your thorn? Have you asked God to remove it once, twice, or three times even? If so, it is time to realize the thorn is there for a reason. Even though thorns hurt, God allows them to purposely exist. We must learn to concentrate on alleviating the pain of others, more than our own. Our weaknesses should make us stronger for Christ.
You Messed Up!
So, did you hear about the grocery checker who charged someone regular price for a sale item? It seems the irate customer came back and demanded his twenty-nine cents back now – not later. No, not after the person who the checker was now checking was finished paying, but now! Despite the checker’s heartfelt apology and explanation that the price of the salsa had not been changed in the system, and her assurance that the change would be refunded gladly as soon as the drawer opened, the unhappy shopper still yelled, “YOU MESSED UP! I want my twenty-nine cents back.” The customer must have had a very bad day. It wasn’t all about the checker or even the salsa, which is a life lesson worth learning for all of us. People’s anger and frustration with their lives is often taken out on whoever they come in contact with. It isn’t really about you or your interaction with them usually. How we react however, is about us and does affect us and the rest of our day. If we mess up and let them have it, which would feel good, it isn’t good. We are called to be lights shining into the darkness, wherever the darkness may be. We are called to be salt, even when dealing with salty salsa servers who are sassy to say the least. It is important that we love with the love of Christ at all times in all situations. A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. – Proverbs 15:1. These are not just some words written on a page, but words we are supposed to live by. Sometimes it is best to simply say, “Yes, I did mess up, I am sorry.”
We often hear I bought it in “good faith.” You bought, believing even though you hadn’t seen it; it was what you hoped it would be. Sometime what we end up with is not at all what we had hoped for. Faith is not always good faith. If our faith says things are this way and are going to always be this way, if we buy into that idea, it is not good… Faith is the evidence of things not seen. Evidence is defined as something visible that gives grounds for believing in the existence of something, to assure the certainty or validity of. So if our evidence of things not seen only gives us grounds to believe the certainty or validity of our situation remaining the same that is what we will end up with. The power of life and death are in the tongue. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Speak life. Speak abundance. Evidence will validate with assured certainty that things you haven’t seen and are hoping for, are only good things. Have only good faith.
Depending on a Sure Thing
Promises are something we make and sometimes break. Promises are what we hold on to that keep us going, and what we doubt as we let them slip away – stalled by fear of failure. When we make promises we usually make them with every intent of trying our best to be true to our word. Perhaps we strive so hard to keep them because we remember how much broken promises hurt. God’s Word is jammed pack full of promises that God has made to us which give us hope to keep on going even when someone hurts us by breaking a promise. God does not break promises. He keeps His Word always. When we hold on to His promises we have the strength and the courage not to be stalled by fear of failure. In Isaiah 26:3-4 we find a great promise, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” Perfect peace, now that is a great promise and something we all long for. Depend on GOD and keep at it because in the LORD GOD you have a sure thing. How many sure things do you have in your life that you can depend on? With the knowledge that even our next breath isn’t promised, it is great to know we have the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Savior. Keep your mind on Christ always. Trust Him. He is the only Sure Thing we have that we can depend on forever.