And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. 2 Timothy 2:6 NLT
Paul brings up a farmer as one of three illustrations of a faithful minister of the gospel. The other two (soldier and athlete) sound more exciting. Although it’s not Paul’s intent, the truth is that a farmer leads quite an exciting life. He works one of the most dangerous careers a person can choose. Soldiers may face greater dangers from time to time, but a farmer lives and works between sky and earth everyday. In our day, farming always outranks any other career in producing work-related injuries and death. Farming is not for dabblers, cowards, or the lazy. Farmers can teach us a lot about faith.
|But the LORD’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken.|
|Psalm 33:11, NLT|
|“The plans of the LORD stand firm forever.” Are you frustrated by inconsistencies you see in others, or even in yourself? God is completely trustworthy–his intentions never change. There is a promise that good and perfect gifts come to us from the Creator who never changes.|
|When you wonder if there is anyone in whom you can trust, remember that God is completely consistent. Let him counsel you, and trust in his plans for your life.|
The Bible describes Paul and Silas as being beaten, bound in chains and tossed into a filthy prison cell (Acts 16:23-34).
But they looked at the goodness of God instead of the impossibility of their circumstances and began to sing hymns of praise to God. The other inmates were listening, and in the midnight hour the earth shook and their chains were loosened.
Praise brings the power of God that will break limitations off your life!
You and I encounter people every day who are in some kind of chains, some kind of bondage or limitation. What are they hearing? What sound is coming from your life?
As Paul tells us, “Faith comes by hearing” (Romans 10:17). When you make praise a lifestyle, other people hear it. Your faith increases, and so does theirs. David said, “Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works”
(1 Chronicles 16:9).
I gotta go with pie, I LOVE PIE!
See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
1 Thessalonians 5:15
“I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again,” goes the old saying from William Penn. Kindness is not an inconvenience to be avoided but a characteristic to be embraced.
Sometimes it is as simple as a pleasant smile, a warm handshake, sending a thank you note, assisting a neighbor with household project, or being with a friend in distress. Someone once said, “The greatest thing a man can do for his heavenly Father is to be kind to his other children.”
Kindness originates from the heart of God. God is kind because he cannot be otherwise. It is essential to his nature. And, likewise, that kindness becomes a part of our new nature, which comes to us through the Holy Spirit. Kindness becomes a part of our conduct because our character is rooted in God. The poet Robert Burns said that the kind heart most resembles God.
Kindness provides for the other people’s needs. Kindness is more than a pat on the back while saying, “Have a nice day.” Kindness gets involved. It gets its hands dirty. It’s visible and active. It moves beyond the spiritual and the emotional to the physical and practical. Kindness’s theme song says, “Find the need and fill it. Find the hurt and heal it.”
The watchword of today’s society is “Don’t get involved.” But at the heart of a kind person is involvement. They see the needs and seek to fill them. They are willing to risk in order to help others out. They know they can’t do everything, but they can do something.
After answering the lawyer’s question with the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus instructed him to go and do likewise, and he instructs us to do the same. Let’s move from pious platitudes to practical involvement. Let’s not just stand for what is right; let’s do what is right. Let’s not just carry a placard to city hall; let’s carry a casserole next door. Let’s not make our religious activities a substitute for Christian kindness.
Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in* you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17, NLT
Paul wanted the Corinthians to understand that they were a unified assembly. They were not to see themselves as a collection of competing interests or independent individuals. Paul was emphasizing the intent of Jesus’ prayer in John 17:21-23 that believers be unified in God.
What actions can you take this week to strengthen your ties to fellow Christians in the church of Jesus Christ?
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. http://bible.us/Eph2.10.NIV
I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth,
whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O LORD my God, snatched me from the jaws of death!
Sometimes we have to experience the feeling of death before we can know the freedom of life. In a spiritual sense we have to give up before we can be raised up. When we realize there’s nothing more we can do, then God can intervene and save us. When Jonah gave up the hope of surviving, God intervened and saved him. Jonah had to die to his own desires before he could live.
In the highlands of Scotland, sheep often wander off into the rocks and get into places that they can’t get out of. The grass on these mountains tastes very sweet, and the sheep like it. They will jump down ten or twelve feet to a ledge with a patch of grass, and then they can’t jump back up again. The shepherd hears them bleating in distress. The shepherd may leave them there for days, until they have eaten all the grass and are so faint that they cannot stand. Only then will the shepherd put a rope around the sheep and pull them up out of the jaws of death.
Why doesn’t the shepherd attempt a rescue when the sheep first get into the predicament? The sheep are so foolish and so focused on eating that they would dash away from the shepherd, go over the precipice and destroy themselves.
Such was the case with Jonah. And such is the case with us. Sometimes we need to experience a little bit of death before we can enjoy the abundance of life. The
Lord will rescue us the moment we have given up trying, realizing that we can’t
liberate ourselves, and cry to him for help.
And at that moment God does something miraculous. He offers a gift–a gift of grace and mercy. Just like salvation came to Jonah, rescue will come to us.
I can tell you from personal experience that this is true. Never give up, In the
last four years I have been brought to the edge of death at least four times.
The Lord then performed miracles on me to keep me here. I certainly praise Him
for every day He gives me….Praise The Lord!!
Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Mark 10:21, NLT
What does your money mean to you? Although Jesus wanted this man to sell everything and give his money to the poor, this does not mean that all believers should sell all their possessions. Most of his followers did not sell everything, although they used their possessions to serve others. Instead, this story shows us that we must not let anything we have or desire keep us from following Jesus. We must remove all barriers to serving him fully.