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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Thoughts from the Past - Immediate Results

June 27, 2007 [edited]

Immediate Results

The following passage is the explanation from the parable of the sower. Note how often the word "immediately" appears:

Mark 4:15-20 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. (Emphasis added.)

We live in a time when so much happens so quickly that patience in the Lord's work has become "outdated." People want immediate results. They want to "see souls saved" and "the altar filled;" they want to see the pews filled, but they chafe that it doesn't happen sooner. They have no desire to "get their hands dirty" in the work of cultivation or tending young plants. Many in the Lord's church today are "outcome based." Some might deny this, but it comes through in their talk and writing in spite of themselves. They are "result oriented" and even "seeker sensitive." Some have rightly referred to this as "microwave Christianity." "They want what they want when they want it", to paraphrase an old song.

Notice first in the passage that Satan immediately taketh away the word that is sown in the hearts of the people by the wayside. There is someone who works immediately in this parable, and it isn't the sower, nor the seed. Remember that!

Next, notice that it is the ones in stony ground who immediately receive the word with gladness. There are those who will seem extremely glad to hear the truth, and yet they have no root. They are not connected to anything that will support growth and fruit - they are not true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Too often these people are grabbed by the "soul winners" to set forth as proof that God is "using them" (meaning the soul winner). The new “convert” may be rushed into baptism and church membership, but sadly they only endure for a time. As soon as affliction or persecution comes in relation to the word of God, these people are immediately offended. Then the preacher or "soul winner" blames the person, frets and stews and is frustrated; OR they ignore the fact and go charging on in their numbers game of "who can win the most." (You can't stop counting the ones who "don't stick," you know, or you'll start falling behind.)

Now notice how the ones that are sown among thorns go. They become unfruitful through the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of other things. They are choked by the thorns. This is a slower process. The unfruitfulness is not noticeable for a while, so the "quick results" seekers would be even more deceived in this matter, and possibly more disappointed later.

But, last of all, notice those in good ground. These hear the word, receive it, and bring forth fruit. This does not happen at microwave speed, friends. Grain grows slowly. The crop is not ready two days after planting. It takes time for the seed to sprout, to grow good roots to support the plant, to shoot forth, and finally to bear fruit.

Notice also that the amount of fruit is not the issue. It comes in varying amounts - some thrityfold, some sixty and some an hundred. Those who bring forth thrityfold are not condemned and those who bring forth an hundredfold are not exalted above the others. They all bore fruit! This is the point.

Finally, we must remember Who is in charge of "results" in the first place.

1 Corinthians 3:7-9 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. (Emphasis added.)

It is not our responsibility to "get results." It is especially not our responsibility to get them immediately. It is not our place to even be claiming "results." God giveth the increase. We don't need to be, and should not be, fretting over the results or how soon they come.

The East Africans have a saying: "Hurry, hurry has no blessing." In this case it applies well. You can't see quick results where growth is required to produce fruit.

James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

Let's not be carried away with the "hurry up" attitude that is so preeminent today. Plant where you can. Water where you can. Be faithful and patient and let God bring forth fruit to His glory in His time.

Scattering precious seed, doubting never,
Scattering precious seed, trusting ever;
Sowing the word with prayer and endeavor,
Trusting the Lord for growth and for yield.

William Ogden

first posted 9/2012

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Evening Song - Blessed Assurance

Isaiah 32:17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. 

Acts 17:30-31 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

FREE Scripture Graphic - Rejoice Evermore.

Here is another vintage graphic that I edited. I got the original graphic somewhere online. I made some changes and added the verse. You can save the image from here, but it will not be very high quality.  You can get it in higher quality if you go over and download it here. (Use the download button in the lower right corner.)

If you wish to use this online, please do not link to the graphic from either of my locations. Save it to your own computer and then upload it to the place where you store graphics online for you own use. Thank you.

[Note: It's OK to link the graphic from here only if you are sharing the link to this specific post on my blog - either on your own blog or in social media.]

Enjoy!  :-)

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Worth Repeating - The Good Shepherd

Jesus said,

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep...14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

Sometimes we feel lonely, afraid, weary, and more.  Our Good Shepherd will supply our needs.  Here is a poem that I wrote about this in 2005. [It was written before I was married, but I updated the name on it. :-) ]

The Good Shepherd

A favorite poem by Isaac Watts:

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need

You can listen to the music to go with this poem here.  (I don’t know anything about these musicians except that they do a good job on this arrangement.)

A Psalm of David.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Illustration based on painting by Henry A. Harper

First published here Feb. 2013
Top image - source unknown.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Evening Song – Beside the Still Waters of Peace

Psalms 23:1-2  The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Guest Post - A Short Thought on Depression

About twelve or thirteen years ago my dad had started through a time of really serious health problems which triggered a deep depression that lasted several years. This seemed like a topic that I wanted to address today instead of the usual celebrations of the day (Father's Day in the U.S.). Maybe someone needs it.

Psalm 142:5-7 I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.

This is written by Craig Edwards, a pastor whose Facebook page I read sometimes. I appreciated his ministry on Facebook very much for awhile and found much there that was thought provoking and encouraging. This particular one is an important reminder that depression is not a sin. While I do believe in a few instances it can be caused by devil possession, as in the case of King Saul in the Bible, there are many people who are suffering for other reasons.

I feel very strong about the post I'm about to make, and it's about DEPRESSION. Depression is the most disabling disease in all of North America, and second in the world.........and its growing. A couple of overwhelming symptoms are: 1. Detachment - from family, friends, and everyone else. You can be in a crowd, and still feel alone. 2. Guilt- you feel no one really loves you, and no one cares, and the world would better place if you were not in it. You feel like a burden to your family, and you feel like you're making their lives miserable!!! Remember, depression is a sickness. It's not being demon possessed or crazy, but a disease. If you handle it recklessly, or ARE HANDLED recklessly, it makes it worse. I know [because] I live it, and I'm GLAD!!!! I've been able to reach out to, and help people that, according to their own words, wouldn't be here today. God has allowed me to suffer from depression for a purpose, that's far bigger than myself. I've been able to show, and teach others that there is LIFE and HOPE , after and during depression. The fulfillment I've experienced, by being able to help others, is worth the criticism. Others don't get it.....and you know what......I hope they never have to learn the hard way!!!!! God bless you all!!! I love all y'all !!!


My thought:

Whenever I hear someone say that Christians shouldn't be depressed or have anxiety and/or that they shouldn't need any medication for it, that all they need is the Bible, I feel sick. It scares me for them because I know how God chose to teach me the hard way, and it has been the hardest and longest lesson I probably ever had to learn. When I was young I had the idea that only people who weren't "right with God" had depression or things like that. I was very self-righteous about it. But the Lord took me through some very hard times to show me the folly and vanity of my thinking. These times sometimes recur for me because it's a lifelong illness for me.

Friend, please don't judge others in things you don't understand like this. If God decides to make you go through it in order to correct your puffed up thinking, you will suffer things you really don't want to suffer. I say that with deep personal conviction because He did it to me. I don't wish that lesson on anyone. I would much rather that Christians show compassion and kindness to one another, even in things hard to understand.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another...

If you are dealing with depression or an anxiety disorder, I really encourage you, as always, to get help. Ask God to lead you to people who will help you, not hinder you, in learning how to live through and beyond these difficult health problems. You need encouragement, not judgment. You very likely need a doctor. Remember Matthew 9:12, But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. There are many causes for both depression and anxiety and related conditions. With time and effort and the leading of the Lord, you will find ways to help yourself - and others, as Bro. Edwards talks about - because we don't live unto ourselves as Christians.

Romans 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 

Painting by Edmund Charles Tarbell.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Evening Song - Till the Storm Passes By

Matthew 14:25-27 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 

Isaiah 32:2 And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Random Questions - How Well Do You Know Your Dad?

My dad loved to play with his kids on the floor when we were little.
My two younger brothers and my sister are with him here.

How well do you know your dad? 

He is sitting in front of the TV, what is he watching? Probably a documentary, something about trains or something about another country.

Usually, what dressing does he eat on his salad? Something he concocted himself with pickle brine and herbs.

Name something he hates? Traffic

You go out to eat, what does he order to Drink? Decaf coffee, sweet tea or water.

Favorite music to listen to? Old hymns, YouTube videos of churches that use the Red Backed Hymn Book.

What is his nickname for you? When I was very little - Mary Sunshine.

When he's being sentimental it's about? My mom or something from his past.

What is something he likes to collect? Heirloom seeds and seed catalogs, true accounts of explorers from history.

What would he NEVER wear? A muscle shirt, anything effeminate.

What is his favorite sports team? Rocky and Bullwinkle.

You bake him a cake for his birthday, what flavor is it? Pineapple Upside-down Cake.

What is his favorite animal? I'm not sure there's one that qualifies, but probably something from East Africa.

What could he spend all day doing? Working in his garden, writing, doing stuff on the computer, reading.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

This Thing Is from Me

1 Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 

This Thing Is from Me

This thing is from Me, came His whisper of love
That today you do not understand,
When farther along, you shall look back and see,
That it came from thy dear Master’s hand.
This thing, that has troubled and caused thee such pain,
Loss of what you held precious and dear,
When the fire has refined thee, the dross is all gone,
Then the reason, My child, will be clear.

Continue Reading.

Painting by Childe Hassam

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Evening Song - Be Still My Soul

Psalm 4:3-4 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.


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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Worth Repeating - How to Make Ends Meet

This post was first published here in August 2011. I thought it might be helpful to someone again. :-) I added some vintage photos just for interest.

Here is a good blog post on How to Make Ends Meet.  

Please read the comments too. At the time that I linked to this there were a few that really added to the article itself.

By the way, this is something that all of us need to think about and there are things that all can put into practice, even those who don’t have such a limited budget at the moment. If you don’t see the need for that you must not know what is going on in the world or are willfully ignorant of it. As it says in Proverbs 23:5, Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

1 Timothy 6:6-7 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Saving bacon grease for future use.
My mother used to do this. In fact, she still has a bacon grease tin as far as I know. :-)

Source of photos unknown.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Thoughts from the Past - What About the Rapture?

Here is an article on the rapture of the church that I posted in March 2013.

Some time back our [former] pastor preached a message on the subject of why we believe in the rapture of the church.  In scripture it is referred to specifically as our gathering unto him (Jesus Christ).  Having run across some odd claims in that regard, I had already been thinking about writing an article on the subject.  It’s taken too long, but I hope that it will be a blessing and/or a help to someone.

Why We Believe In Our Gathering unto Christ, also Called the Rapture

2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

There has been a good deal of discussion about the doctrine of the rapture of the Lord's church in recent times.  Many mockers have been encouraged by the foolish predictions of Harold Camping.  The Emergent Church movement has pushed the idea that we should not be divisive and that we should just not talk about things we don't agree on.  They imply by this that many things in scripture are really not important.  Some people have gone so far as to conclude that belief in our gathering unto Christ is heresy, even "doctrines of devils".  These last are strong accusations!

First of all, it is important to establish the fact that having a perfect understanding of end time events is nowhere said in scripture to be essential for salvation… 

Continue reading.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Evening Song - In My Heart There Rings A Melody

Ephesians 5:18-20 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 

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