Investing 101

Pr. 18:16:  “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.”

While we wait on the Lord’s return we have work to do.  We can never forget that ultimately, the work we are called to do is to spread the message of Jesus Christ.  God is depending on us to point others to Him.

I was reading the parable of the talents in Mathew 25 this morning.  It reminded me that God has entrusted us with resources that He expects us to use to multiply the kingdom.  He did not give us resources and salvation so that we can sit comfortably in our happy place and keep it all to ourselves.  He expects us to put those resources to work.

That work will look different in a lot of lives.  We have all been given different resources so that we can reach a wide range of people.  Some will be preachers and pastors.  Some will be missionaries in a foreign land.  Others will minister to people in prison.  Levites will lead the way with music ministry, bringing others into the presence of the Lord.

Others, however, may look more like a mother talking to her children about the Lord day after day, reminding them of God’s love and provision.  Some will hand out food in their community, or spread God’s love to those around them by simple actions of kindness or charity.  I have watched my own mother approach a cash register to simply purchase a shirt, and before we walked away, both she and the cashier were in tears, hugging and praising God.  It could look like that.

Perhaps it’s a Sunday school teacher, faithfully teaching Sunday after Sunday, feeding adults or children with the Word of God.  It could be a nursery worker, caring lovingly for a helpless baby while it’s parents are being ministered to.  Sometimes it’s a miraculous offering of forgiveness that can only be explained as a gift from God.  It could even be a financial giving of resources.

God expects us to use our resources for His kingdom.  In the parable of the talents, the man who had given the talents to his servants returned to find out what had been done with them.  There was 1 servant who had buried and hid his talent until the master returned.  The master was disappointed that the servant had not done anything with it.

One day, Jesus will return.  He will look to see how we have used our resources for His kingdom, and He will expect to see some sort of return.  We cannot hide our resources or His love away.  Others are counting on us.  And our work will please the Master.

Investing,

jamie

Advertisements

A lesson from the ants

Pr. 30:25:  “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer”

I was drawn to 2 somewhat different verses together today, but in the end found them very akin. 

2 Cor. 9:10, “Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.”

Giving (sowing seed) is just like storing up/preparing for later.  When you give, well… 2 Cor. 9:6 says, “when you sow bountifully you will also reap bountifully.”

Paul knew that the One who supplies the seed can and will also multiply whatever seed you, in turn, sow around you.

So, just like the ant, when you bountifully sow in your ‘summer’ months, you are wisely storing up and preparing for your ‘winter’ months.

God’s law is universal, which means it is applicable in all cases.  You can count on it.

And none of our gifts are too little.  Just ask the ant.

Happy sowing!

jamie

 

Sowing harmony

Twice in Proverbs 6 there is mention of sowing discord.  How can we avoid sowing discord?

Becoming humble, understanding that we are imperfect ourselves, helps us not to sow discord.

Walking in the Spirit fills us with the fruit of the Spirit, which promote harmony:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Loving our neighbor as ourselves brings harmony.  If we truly love someone as ourselves, we will want things to be harmonious and not full of discord.

Serving others helps us to love them and to desire harmony with them and others.

Praying for those with whom discord seems to be inevitable.  When you are praying for someone…sincerely praying…it becomes very difficult to talk badly about them or to them.  Sincerely praying for another helps us to love them with the love of Christ.

Imitating Christ is another way to sow harmony instead of discord.  What better example than the One who gave Himself as a sacrifice for the world.

Forgiving helps us to sow harmony, as well.  We are asked to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave us.

It is God’s will that we not sow discord.  Just check Proverbs 6, if you need confirmation.  I pray today that we will not allow discord to be what we sow, but that we will intentionally seek to sow harmony.  If we notice the seeds of discord in our seeder, we can ask God to help us replace them with those of harmony and love.  He will faithfully offer His aid.

Loving you,

jamie

Another day to persevere

Pr. 31:25:  “Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come.”

Do you know what this verse doesn’t say?  It does not say that she shall rejoice every moment of every day.  It says she shall rejoice in time to come.

As I read this verse this morning, I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 11:6, which says, “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.”

This reminds me that diligence, persistence, effort, and perseverance are important qualities of our nature.  We must continue to press forward.  Some activities in our lives seem mundane and routine at times.  Some responsibilities feel overwhelming or paralyzing.

It is the completion of the tasks before us or the persistent effort to do so that brings us honor.  It is the husband who continues to get up and go to work daily, when he would rather do anything else, who receives honor for his perseverance.  It is the student who trudges through their schoolwork, with consistent effort, who receives honor for not giving up or giving in to lesser things.  It is the mother who sweeps the floor for a 3rd time in one day who is doing what is honorable, through her diligence.

There is a lot to be said for not giving up.  If we do not sow any seed, no prosperity will come forth.  However, if we continue to daily sow seeds, something will eventually take root.  We may not see the results right away.  We may wonder if anything will ever come from them.  We may even notice that, other than our own personal satisfaction, not much comes from some of them.

The point is; however, that in order to see the growth of the fruit, we must sow the seeds.  Strength comes when we persevere.  Honor comes from the same.

As we say good-bye to 2014, let’s remember all the ways in which we have been consistently diligent and persistent and rejoice that we have increased in strength.

As we welcome 2015, let’s remember that honor comes from not giving up, and continue to sow our seeds.  Let’s continue to release those things in our hands and watch what comes forth from them.  It will be worth the effort.

God, we thank you for another day…another year to serve You.  Help us this day to rejoice in You and in the blessings that have come from You.  As we face the possibility of another year, give us the daily strength to persevere in Your will and in Your service.  If tomorrow does not come, help us to give ourselves over to You once again, receiving Your salvation and forgiveness, and living a life that honors You.  Our diligence in serving You will not go unrewarded, and for that we give You praise! 

Happy New Year!

jamie

Sowing while we wait

Ps. 126:5-6:  “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bring his sheaves with him.”

While we are waiting for Christ’s return, we are living in a fallen, sin-cursed world where there is indeed pain and suffering.  Here we still experience sorrow, death, and tears.  So, in the midst of our trials, how does our trust in God come forth?

We know God’s universal law of reaping and sowing:  whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  Gal. 6:7.  This Psalm tells us something even more.  When we sow in tears we will reap in joy.

If, in the midst of our sorrow and weeping, we continue to sow the seeds of righteousness, we will reap a harvest of joy.  Gal. 6:9 promises that, “in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

Trials are common to us all.  Suffering is a sad result of sin that affects each of us.  Christians, in particular, suffer further persecution at times that can cause even more heart-ache.  The promise we have; however, is that even in the midst of the trials, the tears, and the weeping, our faithful sowing will reap joy and we will have a harvest to show for it.

In faith, we can continue to sow seeds around us, even through our tears.  Actually, doesn’t it seem sometimes that the best seeds are planted when tears are present?  Our experiences give our testimony of faith more weight.

Our trials and painful experiences are like fertilizer that gives the seed the extra nutrients it needs to grow strong.  If we can still plant seed and walk in faith even during trials, it gives others the proof they need that God is faithful and mighty; and this can help them to grow strong in the Lord and in their own faith.

I encourage you today, while you are waiting, to continue trusting in God’s faithfulness and to continue sowing seeds.  Water the seeds with your tears, if need be, but continue to sow.  You will reap joy and come back rejoicing, harvest in hand!

Keep trusting.  He is coming again!

jamie

 

 

Today I offer a challenge

Pr. 11:25:  “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.”

One of our universal laws is that we reap what we sow.  God also reminds us that He measures us with the same measure we use towards others.

If we are generous, both in the flesh, but also in spiritual things, then we are sowing generosity, which we will also later reap.  When we “water” others, we ourselves will be watered.

Do you need something from the Lord?  Are you looking for guidance, a special Word, a fresh anointing?  Water someone else.  Feed spiritual things into someone else today, intentionally, and you will also be fed spiritually.  Water someone with rivers of living water and out of your heart will flow even more.

You can only share what is already in your heart.  If you have hidden God’s Word in your heart, and have had time in prayer with Him, you will be full and running over.  Share with someone else!  If you need to fill up a little, then do that first and then share.

Today’s challenge:  Intentionally water someone.  Intentionally sow something spiritual into someone’s life.

I would love to hear about it.  If you feel comfortable, comment and share with me what you intentionally chose to do.  Share a special devotion with someone, read a Bible story with your children, ask someone what the Lord has done for them lately to get a conversation started.  Whatever you choose, choose it intentionally.  Maybe what we share will give someone else an idea for tomorrow.  I will do it, too, and we can share together how the Word went forth today.  🙂

You aren’t doing this to be selfish.  He freely offers us this promise.  Notice you have to give first in order to get.  You will be sharing the love of the Lord.  In that you can never go wrong!  His Word will always accomplish the purpose for which He sends it forth.

I will use Paul’s words to the Romans to send you forward today:  “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Praying for you,

jamie