Supernatural seed

Mark 4:26-29 And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Anyone who has been involved in evangelism has undoubtedly experienced the reality of this verse. Salvation is a supernatural experience produced by the power of God. I can preach the word of God until my voice fails, but if the Holy Spirit doesn’t move upon the heart, nothing will change.

For years in evangelism I put undue pressure upon myself to produce results, which led to times of great discouragement. I considered if I had said the right things or been persuasive enough. This verse has brought clarity to the role of man and the role of God in the salvation of souls.

The Lord has chosen to use men and women as His messengers. Angels may have been more efficient, but they have not experienced the saving power of God. So frail humanity has been entrusted with this noble task. Let’s consider what this parable says.

The sower is scattering seed on the ground. We know from Luke 8:11 that the seed is the Word of God. Any experienced farmer will make sure that the ground is prepared to receive the seed. Likewise, we pray that the hearts of men would be prepared by the Spirit of God to receive the seed of His Word.

While the seed is in the ground, hidden from sight, things are happening. Life and growth are being produced. For a while it is unseen but eventually it will sprout out of the ground and grow. God is at work.

During this time the farmer isn’t totally inactive. He pulls weeds, watches for insects that would damage the crops and provides water. He ensures that there are optimal conditions for growth. Again, this happens very powerfully through prayer and intercession as the work of God continues to produce life.

A glorious day will come when God’s work has produced a soul ready to be harvested, that is, brought into the kingdom. And here is the farmers joy, to reap the fruit of his labors.

Man cannot do God’s part. He is the one who saves, many times in spite of us. But He has given us a part to play as well. Let us be found faithful as sowers of the word, tending in earnest prayer to those souls who have heard.

And after the outreach was over………

Sunday afternoon was my city’s annual Earth Day celebration.  Mostly it’s just another excuse for a festival with live music, beer and carnival food.  After church I went with a small group of people to share the gospel of Jesus.  There were some memorable moments during the day when I felt like it was a God ordained moment for me to speak to certain people…..a man who was weighed down by the guilt of his alcohol addiction…..the 20-something pastor’s son who was dabbling in the world and trying unsuccessfully to justify it to himself….so many stories.   So many people in need of the freedom that only Jesus can bring.   After several hours, the outreach was over and it was time to make my way back to church for prayer meeting.   Arriving at my car, I began to unload my backpack into the trunk when I noticed that a lady was opening the trunk of the car next to me.  Just being polite, I turned towards her with a very generic, “How are you today?”    When she turned towards me I could see the pain on her face as she answered, “I”m having a really bad day.”  I offered to pray for her but she seemed hesitant to reveal any details of her trouble, yet my heart was moved with compassion for her and I knew I couldn’t just leave.   I began to tell her of the One who loves with a faithful love, watching as her face softened.  There were only a few moments that I had to speak to her before her companion joined her at the car, so I spoke all that was on my heart, threw my arms around her and prayed a brief prayer in her ear.  Her name is Keisha.  And as I drove away, I told her once again, “I will pray for you Keisha.”

I had thought the outreach was over.  In reality, it never is.

Where am I to go?

Where am I to go
When the heavens are as brass
Words, from my lips
Fall to the ground
Unheard it seems

Where am I to go?

Where am I to go
When all seems dark and lonely
When troubles rush
Upon my weary soul
Reaching into the darkness
Do You see my hand?

Do not let me fall
Nor let my heart wander
When questions remain unanswered
When the distance seems tangible
And the promises are distant memories
How can I go on?

Yet where am I to go?

For it is true
That even in the darkest night of the soul
That there remains a hope
Of a life beyond, exceeding and eternal
Where faith becomes sight
And promise becomes reality
Questions answered, distance bridged
Face to face
A day of glory

This promise awaits
Those who endure
I close my eyes and hold on tight

Spurgeon on prayer

We must remember that the goal of prayer is the ear of God.  Unless that is gained, the prayer has utterly failed.  The uttering of it may have kindled devotional feeling in our minds, the hearing of it may have comforted and strengthened the hearts of those with whom we have prayed, but if the prayer has not gained the heart of God, it has failed in its essential purpose.

Woe is me

Several years ago during a time of prayer the Lord revealed an area of sin in my life. This wasn’t one of those outward sins that anyone else could see. It was an issue of the heart that only He could see. Today I can’t even remember exactly what is was, but I do remember that the first reaction I experienced was deep grief at the revelation of it. But within a matter of moments that emotion gave way to absolute horror as I realized that this was something that had been in my heart every time I had gone before the Lord in prayer or worship. Each time I had brought it with me and unknowingly presented it before Him. Him….the Holy God. At that moment I understood the desperation of Isaiah’s cry – Woe is me! I am undone!

My only recourse was to stand before my Lord and my God with a deeper understanding of my own wretchedness and dependence upon His mercy. The initial guilt and shame of the revelation of my sin was replaced by a deep thankfulness for the cleansing blood of Christ.

PRAYER: Who is a God like You who forgives the sins of His people and remembers them no more? Your purifying work in our lives is a sure sign of Your love for us. May we live in continuous remembrance of the greatness of Your mercy towards us.

Bone yard guardians

I recently read the story of Rizpah from 2 Samuel 21. Her two sons were given to the Gibeonites to be executed for their father, King Saul’s, sin in transgressing the covenant between Israel and Gibeon. Rizpah can do no more than setup watch at the spot of execution, guarding the corpses from animal predators. But she does what she can and stands between those she loves and what would tear them in pieces. With the approach of a wild animal or bird, surely a cry must have risen up in her heart and she ran towards the offending creature – NOT MY SON! Certainly with tears and anguish of soul she maintains her post, watching continually…faithfully. Daily, their lifeless bodies were a reminder that they were dead. Yet she remained, determined to provide whatever manner of protection to them that she could. She watched over the dead – a bone yard guardian.

Rizpah, to me, models the work of the intercessor – standing between the dead and the powers that would tear them to pieces, that enemy that is seeking to devour. Like Rizpah, I am a bone yard guardian, standing watch over those I love who are dead in trespasses and sin. Continually and faithfully watching.

The Lord has given me the responsibility and privilege to stand watch. So I watch and pray and cry over the deadness of their souls. And in this verse I have hope:

“….God who gives life to all things….” 1 Timothy 6:13

He is the only one that can breathe life into those dead bones. He gives life and is Life.

Can these bones live? He knows. The God who gives life to all things….He knows.

Greater Things

Lord I long for greater things
Than the passing pleasures this life brings

Wealth and fame hold no attraction
The world’s charms do not stir my passion

All that it presents to me
Does naught but draw me far from thee

But there is One my heart desires
Whose Presence sets my soul afire

As quietly I sit and gaze
Upon the glory of His face

In the secret place of prayer
(For He has pledged to meet me there)

I come and wait expectantly
For just one word is life and peace

Strength and comfort to my soul
A healing balm that makes me whole

All else becomes irrelevant
And knowing Him my one intent

Jesus is the greater One
The risen King, the glorious Son

And though it cost me everything
I will seek to know my King



Oh Lord speak, for Your servant is listening
Your slightest whisper is manna from heaven for my needy soul
What more could I ever need in this life
If only I can walk with You
My heart cries out “that I may know You!”
Expectantly I come and pray to You
I know that You are there – Jehovah Shammah
That name is so precious to me
For I can do without many things
But I must know that You are near
When my gaze is fixed upon my heavenly Master
Only then does life make sense
So Lord, please speak, for Your servant is listening.

It is time

“…..for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes….”  Hosea 10:12

In my conversations with believers there is a sense of urgency in the days we are living in; a sense of seriousness and watchfulness; a sense of the need to seek the Lord like never before.  To be sure, there are serious problems that our nation is facing that have affected many of us.  It is probable that darker days lie ahead.  Only God knows for sure. 

But even greater than the needs in our nation are the needs in the church.  Jesus has left us here to be a light in this darkened world.  And if the light has become darkness, how great is the darkness.

So much of what is called the body of Christ seems to be interested in everything but Christ.  We go about our lives, doing our thing, making a living and enjoying our lives.  We stay so busy either with work or entertainment that we successfully quiet that still, small voice that tells us there is so much more to life than this.  I’m afraid we have forgotten why we are here.

It is time to seek the Lord.  Even if the world is scheduled to continue for another 500 years, it is time to seek the Lord.  Today, right now, every day.  We must seek Him and we must not stop until He comes; until He visits His people with His Presence.

Can you see the promise in this verse?  He doesn’t say to seek Him and maybe He will come.  He says seek Him till He comes.  He will come if we will seek.  My heart longs for this. 

Jesus, we have forgotten You.  We have gone to church faithfully, said our prayers and done our daily Bible readings.  And we have missed You in all of it.  Oh please come and give us a fresh revelation of Your glory.  Move upon our hearts to seek You, and seek You and seek You until You come.