Look At the Farmers

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James 5:7 (ERV) – Look at the farmers. They have to be patient. They have to wait for their valuable crop to grow and produce a harvest…

When you tell your child you’re going to do something for them or take them somewhere, they will keep reminding you until you do what you said, but as children of God, we give up too easily. After a few tries, we become weary and stop asking because we don’t think God is going to do what He said. We believed Him when He initially said it, but there’s an enemy called ‘time’ that keeps telling you that God is not going to do what He said – that if He was going to do it, He would have done it by now.

Let’s look at three things that every believer can learn from a farmer:

1.  A farmer doesn’t wait for perfect conditions (Ecclesiastes 11:4). He just does what he knows he is supposed to do. One of our biggest problems is we think too much about doing something before we actually do it and so we think ourselves right out of doing what God told us to do. When the prophet sent a messenger to Naaman to give him instructions on how to get his healing, the bible says that Naaman went away angry and said, ‘I thought Elisha was going to come to me, call on the name of the Lord, wave his hand over the area of leprosy and heal me’. He thought, ‘How can dirty water make me clean?’ God only commanded us to obey Him. Trying to figure things out may cause you to miss out.

2.  A farmer sows by faith, not by sight. He doesn’t see any leaves or fruit, but he believes he will see it before he sees it. What you are praying for and believing God for can only be received by faith, not by sight. You must believe that the sent word is a sure word and it will not return empty (Isaiah 55:11). Genesis 1:3 tells us ‘And God said…and there was’. When God was finished speaking, He rested. When you say what God is saying, know that it was – not ‘it’s going to be or it will be’. You may not see it in the natural yet, but in the spirit it is already done. Now rest in the word God gave you.

After a farmer sows, he doesn’t walk away wishing and hoping something will happen, but he works faithfully between seedtime and harvest. He waters it. Every seed needs water. You must water what you’ve planted. Your seed may have been prayer, worship or a financial seed. Now that you have planted your seed, water it with thanksgiving. Thank God that it’s already done. Between seedtime and harvest, be faithful in prayer, confess the word of God, give thanks and obey God daily. Do not grow weary or tired in doing what is right.

3.  A farmer has long patience (James 5:7 KJV). They don’t know the exact day or hour when they will see a harvest, but not knowing doesn’t keep them from sowing. Because the seed is buried, a farmer cannot see the process the seed goes through, but he has faith that the process is working together for his good. I know it seems like the process is taking too long, but remember: A seed has to die before it can produce fruit. God is not withholding no good thing from you, but your good thing takes time to grow. Wait for it.

No matter how much the weather changes, the word of God will remain the same. Weather conditions may cause a delay, but the word God has spoken shall not die and it will not be delayed any longer. It shall come to pass, but don’t give up on the seed, the word and the promise God gave you. You are God’s child. Put your Father in remembrance of His word.

Just like you, your seed has a destiny and it will not remain the same.

It is about to become something.

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Help is Coming

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In Luke 10, there was a man who was stripped of his clothes and beaten by thieves. A priest saw the man, but passed by and crossed to the other side. A Levite saw the same man, but he also passed by on the other side. Both of these men left him for dead, but Ezekiel 16:6 tells us that when God passed by, He saw us polluted in our own blood. He saw the sins, the hurts, the sicknesses, and the bondage we were in. He saw when Satan stole from us. He saw when Satan wounded us and left us for dead, but God didn’t allow us to die. He spoke to us while we were in our mess and commanded us to live. Like the Good Samaritan, He came to where we were, bound up our wounds and took care of us.

It doesn’t matter what the thief has done to you, what people have done to you or what you have done to yourself. There were things that happened to you even as a child and those things were designed to block and hinder you from becoming who God created you to be, but it will not work. It doesn’t matter who tried to stop you. It doesn’t matter who laid the stone. Today, the stone is being removed in your life and God is calling you, Lazarus, to come forth – out of your blood, out of your hurts, out of your sin, and out of your past.

When Jesus told the people to remove the stone from where Lazarus was laid, the first thing his sister said was ‘Lord, by this time he stinks. He’s been dead for four days’. Before you became dead to sin, you were dead in sin and people passed you by. No one wanted anything to do with you. No one wanted to come near you because of the stench of sin. They saw the state you were in, but refused to help you come out of your condition.

When people haven’t done what you’ve done or been where you’ve been, they tend to lack compassion. Unlike the priest and Levite, Jesus showed compassion towards people because He was at all points tempted as they were. The only difference is Jesus didn’t sin. The devil wants you to think that you are in this thing by yourself – that no one has been where you are, but there is nothing you are facing now that Jesus hasn’t already faced. Not only did He face it, but He defeated it on your behalf.

Jesus was there before you got there.

Notice that it wasn’t Jesus who took away the stone. He asked the people that were standing by to remove the stone. Jesus didn’t loose Lazarus. He told the people to loose him and let him go. You have been taken advantage of, deceived, laughed at and messed over long enough. Today, God is sending the right people who will help to loose you from your grave clothes and let you go into the future that He has created for you.

No longer will you be overlooked or passed by.

Help is coming.

Grace to Obey

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Have you ever been pulled over for speeding?

Although you knew the law, you disobeyed the law, but when the police officer caught you in the very act, instead of giving you a ticket, he gave you a warning. You didn’t have to pay for what you did because the officer covered the cost. What some people don’t realize is that the officer doesn’t give you grace to go back on the road to continue to speed, but he gives you grace to obey the law.

While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he was interrupted by the scribes and Pharisees. They brought to him a woman who was caught in adultery. They told Jesus that the law of Moses said to stone the woman, but they wanted to know what Jesus would say about this matter. If Jesus agreed that the woman should be stoned, what would the people think since he was thought of as ‘a friend of publicans and sinners’? Did he not say that he had power on earth to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6)? On the other hand, if Jesus said that the woman should not be stoned, he would have been accused of breaking the law, which would have led to his arrest.

The scribes and Pharisees used this woman to accuse Jesus of something so that He may be arrested. Had she not been used enough? It was the devil who had been using her to sin against her own body and to lure and destroy the souls of men (1 Corinthians 6:18; Proverbs 6:32).

The scribes and Pharisees didn’t minister to her like Jesus did with the woman at the well. No one prayed for her or prayed with her. They wanted her to die, to suffer and to pay for what she did. They took pleasure in exposing her sin. Although they had done things they shouldn’t have done, they thought that what she did was worse than what they did. They thought they were better than her. If they had taken time to speak with this woman, maybe they would have found out that she was molested as a child and this opened the door to promiscuity or maybe that she didn’t love herself, which was why she was seeking love in all the wrong places. This woman was not proud of what she was doing because if she was, she would have been doing this openly and not secretly.

They didn’t care about this woman or her soul, but what was meant for evil was turned around for her good. They wanted to sentence her to death, but the Life gave her life. When you think about it, they actually did her favor. Her deeds were done in the dark, but they brought her deeds to the Light. If she hadn’t been caught, she would have continued in sin, but when she met Jesus, her life changed. A lot of us would still be doing things that we know we shouldn’t do. We would still be enjoying the pleasures of sin, but God knew that would only last for a season.

The moment we got caught, our season was up.

Jesus didn’t condemn her and He didn’t beat her over the head about what she had done wrong. She knew what she was doing was wrong. Jesus simply forgave her and told her to ‘go and sin no more’. In other words, ‘I forgive you so forgive yourself and move on’. He didn’t let her die in the state she was in. He gave her grace to change. Law revealed her sin, but grace forgave her sin and if it wasn’t for the law, she would have never known that she needed grace.

If Jesus could change water, He can change you because He created both. Don’t count people out. Don’t say that they will never change. You don’t know who God is dealing with and don’t count yourself out either. God loves you. When you fall, God gives you grace to get back up again.

God doesn’t live in your past and neither should you. Get past your past. He has given you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). If God is dealing with you about something, He is not revealing it to make you feel ashamed or embarrassed. Jesus never embarrassed the woman. All He wants is for you to come to Him and repent. God doesn’t want you to lie or try to cover up what you did. He wants you to be honest, admit your wrongs and ask for His help.

When Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”, her accusers left one by one, but Grace was still with her. He never turned His back on her.

People saw when you fell in sin, but they are about to see you stand in His grace. The same grace that Jesus gave this woman is the same grace He has given you and all of your accusers are scattering now in the name of Jesus.

But remember, God hasn’t given you grace to continue in sin. He has given you grace to obey Him.

God Created You to Work, Not to Toil

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Toil: to labor, but with difficulty, weariness and distress; a net or snare (a spider’s web, for example).

When God created the earth, there was not a man to till the ground (Gen 2:5). God made man and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it (Gen 2:15). One version says that God took man and caused him to rest in the garden. It doesn’t mean that Adam didn’t have to do anything because if a man don’t work, he won’t eat (2 Thess 3:10). It meant that there were no worries and there were no cares, but the moment Adam disobeyed God, God cursed the ground and told him that in toil  he will eat of it all the days of his life (Gen 3:17).

What we lost because of the first Adam has been restored to us through the last Adam. God sent His Son and redeemed us from the curse of the law. He redeemed us from toiling because God never created us to toil, but He created us to work.

In Luke 5, there were two ships by the lake, but the fishermen were no longer in the ships. They were washing their nets. After Jesus taught the people from one of the ships, he told Simon, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught”.

When Simon washed his nets, that meant he was done, he was fed up, he was tired, he had given up and he was going home. He told Jesus, “I have toiled all night”. Like some of us, he got weary in doing well. He felt like he did all he could and there was no reason to try again, but when Jesus gave Simon a word, Simon said, “Nevertheless at Your word I’ll let down the net”. He had already made up in his mind to give up, but the word gave him hope. That word gave him life and no matter how tired or frustrated Simon was, he felt like he could try again. He felt like he could make it. He felt like things were going to get better.

Just like Simon Peter, we’ve been doing things the same way for years and trying to figure out why we haven’t caught anything. We want change, but we refuse to change. God is not going to do things like He did it the last time. He is doing a new thing. The provision was already made. The fish were ready to be caught, but Simon had to work the word the Lord gave Him.

Jesus said, “Look at the lilies. See how they grow and they don’t toil or spin’. All they do is obey God. He tells them to grow and they grow. God does the rest. They are not naked because God clothes them. He provides for them. If He made it, He will take care of it and He will take care of you. If He cares about flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t He care about you?

God never intended for you to struggle.  Some of you feel like the disciples when the waves were beating into the boat. You think you’re going to drown under those bills or whatever you are going through and you are asking the same question the disciples asked Jesus: ‘Don’t you care?’ (Mark 4:38).

God does care.

What was taken from Adam has been given to you and if you take care of it, God will take care of you. He’s your Master, not your taskmaster. He would never tell you to make bricks without giving you the straw. He has supplied all your need.

The only reason why you are toiling is because you are worried – you are worried that God won’t come through. You are worried that it might not happen, but I speak peace to your mind and an end to your toil and struggle in the name of Jesus. May God make your wilderness like Eden and your desert like the garden of the Lord (Isaiah 51:3).

Bring Them to Jesus

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When you intercede on the behalf of others, you are bringing them to Jesus to be healed. You are like the four men that went on the rooftop and uncovered the roof where Jesus was to get the paralytic man to Him. They tried to go through the door (in the natural), but they had to go up higher (in the spirit) so that this man could receive his healing.

There are people who have given up and walked away from God, who are blinded by the god of this world and don’t know that they need to be healed, who think that God doesn’t love them because of all the things they have done and who are having a hard time forgiving themselves or receiving God’s forgiveness. They have not realized that they don’t have to stay in the condition they are in, that God loves them and if they confess their sins, God will forgive them and heal them. Not everybody wants to live in the pigpen, but it’s just that they are not in their right mind and it’s our job to pray for them until they come to their senses like the prodigal son.

Everything you see today was created by what we cannot see. The prayer of faith creates and causes things to exist that didn’t exist before. The problem is that when we don’t SEE the change in people, we stop praying. We walk by sight rather than by faith.  We pray to God because He can do what we are asking, but when it seems like nothing is happening, we try to do God’s job, but this only brings disappointment, hurt and anger. Allow the same One who saved and delivered you to save and deliver them.

At one time, we were like the people we are interceding for. We didn’t want God and we didn’t want to live right. It took time – many years for some of us – to make up our mind and follow Christ.

The best thing you can do for a person is to love them. That’s what Christ did. He loved us to the Father. He didn’t nag us and He didn’t fuss or fight with us. It was His love that drew us. Some of you may not be on speaking terms with the individual(s), but no matter how distant you may be with that friend or family member, your prayers can still reach them.

Don’t let the devil fool you. This is how you know that your prayers are working:

  1. When the individual(s) you are praying for start acting out and it seems like they are going from bad to worse.
  2. When the Lord sends a word and let you know that something great is about to happen, but instead of a comeback, you experience a setback.

When Jesus cursed the fig tree, the disciples heard it (Mark 11:14), but they didn’t see what Jesus said until the morning. Mark 11:20 tells us that the fig tree was dried up from the roots. The moment Jesus cursed the fig tree, it was cursed. The problem is we’re still looking at the leaves when the actual change took place at the roots (what you cannot see).

Don’t worry and pray and don’t stop praying based upon what you can or cannot see. The change is taking place, but you can’t see it on the outside because it’s an inward work. The enemy wants you to give up before you can receive the answer to your prayers, but believe that God heard you the first time and the moment you prayed, it happened.

The scripture doesn’t tell us the relationship between the four men and the paralytic man that they carried. I don’t even know if they knew this man, but I do know this one thing: They were healed and all they wanted was to see this man healed, too. This is how we should be. Someone prayed for you. Now pray for someone else.

Bring them to Jesus.

You Can’t Have Faith and No Trial

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1 Peter 1:7 – That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

When you go through trials, don’t take it personal. It is not you that is on trial, but it is your faith. Everything you said God was going to do and every scripture you confessed over your life is going to be tested. You can’t have faith and no trial. In Matthew 10:19-20, Jesus told the disciples, ‘When they bring you to trial, do not worry about what you will say for it is not you that speak’. This wasn’t about them and it isn’t about you.

The enemy is after your faith because faith is what you need in order to live on earth. Habakkuk 2:4 tells us that the just shall live by his faith. For everything you need, you will need faith to get it. The woman with the issue of blood learned this truth. She spent all the money she had so that she could be healed, but instead of getting better, her condition grew worse. She ran out of money and all she had left was faith, but it was her faith that made her whole.

Your faith is more precious and valuable than money. Money will soon perish, but no matter what trials or pressure your faith goes through, it will not perish. If you don’t have the money to get what you need, God has given you faith to get it and your faith can afford it!

When a person is on trial, their case is built on evidence. Evidence could be statements, information or things used to prove a fact. It can be either spoken testimony or written testimony (affidavits, contracts or medical records). Your faith is evidence of things not seen. You may not see what God has said yet, but faith says you already have it. Every word of God will be put on trial, but the good news is that the verdict is already in and every word will be proven true.

God didn’t give you faith that would fail, but He gave you faith that will pass every test and trial. Don’t give up because the trial process seems long. Even if you feel like there is a delay in His promises, wait for it. The trying of your faith is working patience. Give your faith a chance to work because it is your faith that is going to win this victory. What God said will happen, but you must believe that you have it before you get it.  God is just building your testimony and your character right now.

When you realize that it is not you on trial, but that you are only a witness of what is on trial, then you will be able to count it all joy. Yes, the devil hates you, but he also hates the word God has given you. God has given us exceeding great and precious promises, but the only promise the devil has is that he will be thrown in the lake of fire and brimstone and shall be tormented day and night FOREVER.

Brothers and sisters, you are not in this thing alone. God is defending you. He has won every case and He is not going to lose now. The enemy will try to use your past against you in court. He will falsely accuse you, lie, twist the truth, and try to convince you that what God said is never going to come to pass in your life, but all of his plots and plans will be overthrown in the name of Jesus. His lies will not be able to stand in court, but your faith and God’s word will stand and this is going to bring praise, glory and honor to GOD.

Be encouraged.

Rest in the Lord

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Psalm 37:7 – Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him…

Jesus and His disciples got into a ship. After the ship left the shore, a terrible storm came and the ship was covered up with waves. The disciples heard the sound of the wind and they saw the waves coming inside the boat. They were afraid, but Jesus was sleeping on a pillow in the stern of the boat.

James, the brother of John, was killed by the sword and Herod planned to kill Peter next. Because Peter had escaped prison mysteriously the last time, four soldiers were assigned to him. Two were handcuffed to him and the other two guarded the door. Peter wasn’t worried or scared. Acts 12:5-6 tells us that while the church was praying, Peter was sleeping.

How could they both sleep at a time like this?

Just as His word is settled in heaven, God wants us to be settled with the word He gave us. God wants His children to rest. To rest means to not be moved by what’s moving all around you. God doesn’t want you to be worried about anything. In fact, when you are anxious, the writer said it’s for nothing (Phil 4:6). You have been worried and scared about what MAY happen when God wants you to believe what He said WILL happen.

In Isaiah 30, the Assyrian army was going to start a war against Judah. The people of Judah panicked and began seeking help. It was good that they recognized they needed help, but they sought advice from everyone except God. They began loading their donkeys to go to Egypt – the same place God delivered them from – to pay the Egyptians to protect them. Fear and panic can cause people to make costly mistakes. They were about to pay for something that God could have given them for free. If God had delivered them from the Egyptians, could He not deliver them from the Assyrians? All God wanted was for them to trust in Him and wait on Him.

Jesus rested because He knew that He couldn’t die before His time. God sent His Son with a purpose and he couldn’t leave the earth until that purpose was fulfilled.

Peter rested because of the prayers of the church and because he remembered what God did for him the last time he was in prison. Yes, this time was different because he was handcuffed to the soldiers, but if a tomb couldn’t hold Jesus, then prison couldn’t hold Peter. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is the same Spirit that would raise Peter out of his situation.

Psalm 1:3 tells us that we are like a tree. You became a tree because of a seed (word) that was sown, but in order to grow and be immovable, you must feed yourself daily with the word of God because when things begin to start falling, the word of God will still be standing.

If you are not rooted in the word of God, you will be just like how the disciples were on the ship. When the wind moves, you move – in fear, unbelief or doubt. The disciples became the very thing they feared. They were like a wave of the sea that was driven and tossed by the wind (James 1:6).

God wants His people to rest in His word. When the economy fails, when there is talk of war and terrorism or when a new disease arises, God does not want His people to be easily moved, but He wants us to stand still and see His salvation.

Rest in the Lord…