“TIME TO HARVEST CROPS!”

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”  Hebrews 12:11 NIV

 

Read:   Hebrews 12:4-12

 

In my weekly drives from San Antonio to Aransas Pass to work on the house being remodeled for the Pastors’ Retreat, I pass through the coastal plains.   With the warm climate, their planting season is very early.  This results in their harvest time being in the middle of the summer.

 

Maize and feed corn were harvested six weeks ago, while huge cotton bales have been lining the roads for the last few weeks.  As the months go by, harvest time will continue northward over the next month or so.

 

There are times in each of our lives when we by choice or not harvest what we have sown.  There are times to reflect upon and embrace our work and our efforts during these years our LORD has given us.

 

Are you prepared to harvest the crops you have planted?  Will your grain bins be overflowing, your cellars stocked well and your barns full of the livestock of your life?  Or, will you harvest the disappointing crops of your errors and sinful ways?

 

You have a choice.   Take the time to read today’s scripture reading, Hebrew 12: 4-12.   GOD tells us in order to harvest well, we must be disciplined in our lives.  We are to plant and care for our crops so they yield a full harvest.   Unlike growing seasons, we can plant daily.  Your storehouse and barns are not full.   Today is the day to plant a new crop of love and charity that you can harvest in the days to come.

 

Today’s prayer:   “LORD GOD, Thank YOU for loving me and giving me a new season daily to plant crops in YOUR honor.  Guide me as I plant the seeds YOU have given me.  Amen.”

 

“A SANDPAPER PERSONALITY!”

“It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me. Who will condemn me? They will all wear out like a garment; the moths will eat them up.”  Isaiah 50:9 NIV

Read:   Isaiah 50: 4-9

Do you know someone who just ‘rubs you the wrong way’?   Even at their best, their abrasive words and actions overwhelm any other quality they may have.  You may identify with them as having a ‘sandpaper personality’.  They are ready to disagree with everyone it seems.   Nothing seems to please them.  ‘Difficulty’ should be their middle name.

 

It seems some will criticize the best of situations and will never seem satisfied with even the kindness action.   Understand, people with such a sandpaper personality usually have a problem with themselves and sometimes take out their frustrations and false ideals upon others.

Don’t be a sandpaper person.   Be careful when you feel like criticizing others.   A good rule is:  ‘chastise in private only and only when necessary and praise in public as often as you can.’

So, you don’t develop that sandpaper personality, heed JESUS’ words.   In Matthew 7, verses 1 and 2 we read:  “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.   For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

 

Today’s prayer:  “JESUS MY LORD, Thank YOU for forgiving me at times I have had a sandpaper personality.   Help me to understand the abrasiveness of others and lead them to YOUR loving forgiveness.  Amen.”

 

“DON’T LIVE THERE!”

“But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.”  2Peter 1:9 NIV

Read: 2Peter 1:5-10

I once read;  “Leave tomorrow behind, you don’t live there anymore.”   We all too often live in the past, full of regrets.   Or maybe, you are looking back at the doubts and insecurities of past errors.

Where are you living?   If you are living in the past, ask yourself why.   What does the past offer that the future doesn’t?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

Simon Peter wrote GOD’S perfect Word in today’s scripture reading and completes GOD’S Blessings with a comforting instruction of our future in verses 10 and 11.

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election.  For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our LORD and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST.”   Now, that’s where to live!

This reminds us of the future we all can have.  It is not based on yesterday.   You can’t go back to all the yesterdays of your life.  But, you can follow the scriptural words of Peter and do each and every thing GOD tells us in today’s reading.

Goodness, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love are all instructions for today and the future.   These are of not instructions of the past you cannot change.   They are the instructions of the future you can live in.

Today’s prayer: “JESUS MY LORD, Thank YOU for hearing my prayer.   Help me today to shed the pain of all my yesterdays.  Guide me to grow in YOUR word of all I can be; of all YOU want me to be.  Amen.”

“IT MAKES YOU HUNGRY!”

“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”   John 6:35 NIV

Read:   John 6: 32-40

Ad placement.   Did you ever notice, commercials for food and restaurants are timed when you are most likely to respond?    Even in the grocery stores, samples are handed out to stimulate your appetite.   It has been proven, we buy more when we are hungry.  Grocery stores and restaurants do all possible to create that hunger.

 

The five thousand were hungry and JESUS fed them with only five loaves of bread and two fish.   The people responded.   The wanted to follow JESUS for all HE could supply materially.

Few found salvation and many turned on HIM in short time.   They failed to see the real food, the bread of life HE offered.

GOD’S Word stimulates your hunger for HIS Word.     Once you taste it, you will want more.   If you are not in a scheduled Bible study, I urge you to join one today.   The more of GOD’S Word you study, the more you will want to study.  GOD’S Word will feed you spiritually.  When you are fed spiritually, you will find the food you need to satisfy you both emotionally and physically.

 

When you read your Bible regularly, you will find yourself hungry for more.   The more you know, the more you will want to know about our CREATOR, JESUS AND THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Today’s prayer:  LORD GOD, Thank YOU for giving me YOUR Word.   Help me to learn from all YOU have given me.  I want to know more of all YOU want me to know.   Amen.”

“IS TRUTH DEAD?”

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”  1John 1:8 NIV

Read:  1John 1:5-10

“IS TRUTH DEAD?” was the entire cover of Time magazine this past April.   The story was about the truth and lack of truth in the politics of our great nation.   Still, the subject is worth exploring as the lack of truth reflects the mood of our nation and society all too much.

 

 

Does everyone you know always tell the truth?  Always?

 

How about you?   Do you always tell the truth?  Always?  I wonder if everyone I have ever met always tells the truth.   It would be great if everyone did.  Yet, it seems even the best of us ‘stretch’ the truth or leave part of it out when we speak.

The truth is the only truth in this world we are spending time is the Holy Scripture of GOD.   Every word of every verse of every book is the only Truth you can depend.  As you are caught up in the evils of this world, take a break and enjoy GOD.  Enjoy all of HIS truths knowing HE will lead you to the truth in your life.

 

Jeremiah wrote of Judah in chapter 7, verse 28:

“Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.”    Are we a nation like Judah?   It is not just about politics.  Are you being truthful to all you know and meet?   Isn’t it time we restored truth, the absolute truth, in every facet of our lives?

I know I can do a better job.   How about you?  Start today.

Today’s prayer:  “LORD OF TRUTH, Thank YOU for forgiving me in my times of not speaking the truth in all I say and do.   Help me to not exaggerate, speak falsely or leave the real truth out of all I say and do.  Amen.” 

 

“DO YOU POSSESS GALLANTRY?”

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”  1Peter 4:11 NIV

 

Read:  1Peter 4:1-11

 

Do you possess gallantry?   You can have all you want or need and it’s free.  No, you don’t need a white horse with a silver inlaid saddle.

The full question is:  “Do you have a willingness to confront agony, pain and fear?   Can you muster bravery to act in the face of anxiety?   Do you have the strength to face any obstacle?  Do you possess gallantry to face frightful situations?”

You can be sure you have all the willingness, bravery, strength and gallantry you will ever need.   All it takes is faith in our RISEN LORD.   If you will trust JESUS with all your heart and soul, HE will provide all the willingness, bravery, strength and gallantry you need for your entire lifetime.

The apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians to praise, lift up and teach those of the church at Philippi.   One of the most quoted verses in your Bible is Philippians 4:13.

“I can do all this through HIM who gives me strength.”   Your Bible translation may read; “I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens me.”

Well worth repeating:  Willingness, bravery, strength and gallantry are all gifts from JESUS.   Take all you need and use all you take.

Today’s prayer:  “LORD JESUS, Thank YOU for supplying all my needs.  I can do all things through YOU.   Guide me in these strengths that I may use them for YOUR glory.  Amen.”

 

“IMAGE OR INTEGRITY?”

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.”  Proverbs 11:3 NIV
Read:  Proverbs 11:1-8

Cowboy boots, silk dresses, ragged t-shirts, sequined tops, short shorts, coats and ties all present an instant image.   We are judged by what we wear and how we wear it.   We are also judged by what we say and do as well as how we say and do things.

 

Image is what we want others to believe we are.   Integrity is what we really are.   Read that sentence again!   Image does not matter when GOD knows who we really are.

Our demeanor is an instant statement of the image we want to project.   If you believe in the ways of the world we live, image is everything.  As much as Satan wants us to believe, image is not everything.

When we can’t depend upon the image another presents, we can count on integrity.   So often, integrity has nothing to do with image.

 

Job had integrity.  We read in Job2:3:  “Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job?  There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.  And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.'”

Job maintained his integrity.   He lost his children, his livestock, his wealth and his health.   Still, he maintained his integrity and GOD restored him.

How about you?   Are you projecting an image or does your integrity or lack of integrity prove who you are?   Isn’t it time for an image and integrity check?   Ask GOD who you really are.

Today’s prayer:  “MY REDEEMING GOD, Thank YOU for knowing who I really am.  I pray today to project the image YOU want and to live my life with the integrity that comes from YOU.  Amen.”

 

“PAST, PRESENT AND OH YES!”

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”  Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

 

Read:  Jeremiah 29:10-14

We can define time usually as past, present and future.  But, doesn’t past, present and ‘Oh Yes!’ sound a lot more interesting?   You have to admit; ‘Oh Yes!’ is always better than ‘Oh No!’.

 

Past is defined in the dictionary as a time gone by, something before the present or no longer existing.  We can all agree things of the past are in the past and no longer exist.  We may have things in our past which no longer exist, but raise their ugly head from time to time.  GOD has told us those forgiven sins are forgiven.   When we are reminded of those errors, we need to thank our forgiving GOD and know those reminders are all from Satan.

 

Present is the here and now, not yesterday or last year and not tomorrow or next year.  Have you found yourself in a situation you are less than proud and knowing you went against GOD?   The sins of today may have a past, but they don’t need to have to have a future.  JESUS died on that blood stained cross for all your sins.   Give them to HIM and walk away from those sins that are causing you so much misery.

The future, by this earth’s standard, is preparing to be an ‘Oh No!’.   Allow Satan to control your life and your future is destined for eternal misery where your haunting words will be ‘Oh No!’.  But, it will be too late.

Or…your life can be complete.  Accept JESUS as your LORD AND SAVIOUR today and you will be singing and praising ‘Oh Yes!’ for all eternity.

Today’s prayer:  “LORD MY GOD, Thank YOU for sending YOUR SON to take the burdens of my sins away.    I have accepted JESUS as my SAVIOUR and will be proclaiming ‘Oh Yes!  Oh Yes!’ for all eternity.  Amen”

 

“EVER RAISE YOUR HAND?”

“Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven.”   Revelation 10:5 NIV

Read:   Psalms 134, Revelation 10:1-11

 

As I grew up, I realized there were times it was best not to raise your hand and times to raise your hands high.   One of the first lessons was in Spanish class.   When you have problems with your native language, I learned to never raise your hand when taking a second language class.   Another time, I learned to never raise your hand was in Marine Corps boot camp.

 

But, there are two times to raise your hand…proudly!   There are times we all should step up and volunteer without being pressured to help.  Raise your hands to help others.

The other time to raise our hands is in praise to our LORD.  One hand or both…reaching out to Heaven gives us a humanly effort to honor our GOD.

When was the last time you reached out with raised hands to GOD?   HE is closer than you might think and always within reach…just waiting for you.  You don’t have to be in church to raise your hands in praise.
Raise your hands to GOD in praise right now.  Now, didn’t that feel good?

Today’s prayer:    “LORD MY GOD, Thank YOU for being so near that I can always reach out to feel YOUR presence and be touched by YOU.  Today, I will raise my hands in praise of all YOU are doing in my life.  Amen.”